Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Next?

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Mr. Cope, have you ever given any thought to what you might do with yourself when you stop writing? 

Actually, Junior, I haven't ever given any thought to stopping writing. Why would I stop writing?

Well, you know?... everything comes to an end sooner or later. Besides, don't you want to retire? Kick back? Go fishing? I'd think at your age, you'd be looking forward to no more deadlines. No more research. No more struggling to come up with ideas.

But I enjoy writing. It's what I look forward to doing. It's what I think about when I'm not doing it. I've never once thought about fishing when I wasn't fishing. And the truth is, on those rare occasions when I went fishing, I was thinking about how I would write about the experience.

Well, it wouldn't have to be fishing. You could go golfing more. Wouldn't you like that?

No. If I went golfing once, that would be more than I've ever been golfing in my whole life.

You've never gone golfing? Ever?

Not quite "ever." I took it for one of my required P.E. credits in college. And Itchy, do you want to know what the most relevant thing I learned about golf was?

Sure, Mr. Cope. What was the most relevant thing you learned about golf?

That once the class was over, I would never go golfing again.

OK, fine. It doesn't have to be golfing. Or fishing. There's cards. You know, down at the senior center, there's a bunch who are always playing bridge. That could eat up a lot of idle time, don't you think? Bridge? Or raising miniature roses. I imagine that would be very peaceful... trimming and pruning away on little, bitty roses. You could be like Mister Miyagi. Look how peaceful he was, trimming and pruning away in that old Karate Kid movie. Or hey, I have the perfect idea! You could do what my granddad did when he retired. He did woodworking. Got himself a couple of those fancy power saws and something called a "rouster," and was out in the garage every day, sawing up wood and rousting it up.

I believe you mean "router," Scratchy. And my guess is, woodworking was something he'd done before, but didn't have the time while he was working to do as much as he wanted?

That's it... "router," and no. He'd never done woodworking before. He was an insurance salesman and mom told me he'd never even owned a hammer until he retired.

So what did he make? Furniture?

Well mostly, he made birdhouses. You know... little birdhouses that looked like oldy-time outdoor toilets. Only he painted them up to look like skinny townhouses for pixies and fairies. He must of turned out one a week, at least.

That's a lot of birdhouses. What'd he do with them?

Gave them away. Everyone he knew got at least one birdhouse. I have three, myself. I use them for bookends.

Is he still doing it? Making birdhouses?

Uh-uh. He quit woodworking after he cut off his thumb with one of those fancy saws.

Jeez, I'm sorry to hear that. Must of been a big let-down for him when he couldn't make birdhouses anymore.

Yeah, I think it was. But it didn't bother him for too long.

What? He take up a new hobby?

Nope. Didn't have time. He died about three months later.

Oh, damn. I'm sorry.

The point is, if you wanted to get into woodworking to eat up your time when you quit writing, just let me know. Mom's thinking about getting rid grand-dad's old fancy saws and rouster, and I think I could get them for you pretty cheap.

I'll keep it in mind.

And golf clubs, too. Gramps had a nice set of golf clubs you could probably get cheap. 

Junior, could you excuse me now. I have some writing I need to get done.

Oh sure, Mr. Cope. I'll see you in a few days then, OK?

Maybe.