Now that my career’s closure lies a mere nineteen months away, I’ve started thinking about how to spend the overabundance of free time that a retirement without ailing parents or wastrel children or impending lawsuits provides a relatively well-to-do Late Empire US citizen.
Some people have suggested I write a book about growing up in a small Southern town teeming with lovable oddball characters (and few mean-as-cuss rapscallions), you know, back in the days when polite whites called African Americans “colored people” or “Negros.”
Hasn’t this story already been done a time or two? Anyway, because my sensibilities run closer to the filmmaker David Lynch’s than to Ferrol Sams’, I can’t see myself pulling anything off that print publishers would touch, even with gloves, certifiably impermeable, approved for Ebola victim corpse-removal. 
Thinking, as they say, outside of the container, it occurred to me that I might come up instead with a project that benefits society, something like a post-Trump etiquette manual to help citizens negotiate the shifting sands of what’s now socially acceptable while providing them with a historical context for cultural changes, a sort of map of decline in manners over time.
Excerpt from working manuscript:
In the Age of Elizabeth (1558-1603), an act of chivalry might be a courtier’s removing his cloak and throwing it over a puddle so a lady wouldn’t get her dainty foot wet.
In the Age of Eisenhower (1953-1960), an act of chivalry might be a gentleman’s getting out of the driver’s side of a car, walking around to the passenger’s side, and opening that door for a lady sitting there.
In the Age of Clinton (1993 -2000), an act of chivalry might be a dude’s submitting to a chick’s request that he use a condom.
In the Age of Trump (2017- ), an act of chivalry might be a dudebro’s refraining from grabbing a bitch’s snatch even though she’s oh so fuckable.
Or maybe I could spend my days in fantasyland, Walter Mitty style, imagining myself riding around in a backseat of chauffeur-driven Cadillac with Memphis Minnie, me in a double-breasted suit and matching fedora, she in cotton dress while playing her guitar and singing about how much she adores me.
Worse idea: Out-Milton-Milton and memorize the Holy Bible and Sartre’s On Being and Nothingness word-for-word.
Better idea: Take golf lessons. Play nine holes a day.
Even better idea, enlightened hedonism: go through the stages of Yoga’s sun salutation upon awakening each morning. Then mindfully concoct breakfast, noting the crack of eggshell on skillet rim, the rain-like sizzle of the bacon. Eat those eggs, bacon and grits deliberately, mouthful by mouthful, savoring. Go retrieve the paper and peruse it on the deck or screened porch while sipping coffee. Discuss the fall of civilization with also retired spouse. Afterwards, meditation followed by a walk on the beach or a paddle on the river or a bike ride off the island to Fort Henry. The remainder of the morning spent reading or writing. Tomato and cheese sandwiches. The NY Times crossword. Happy Hour. Preparing dinner with spouse followed by TCM or conversation. More social media. A nightcap. Yawn. Morpheus descending. Sweet dreams . . . ennui.
Okay, what was the name of the pervert in my hometown who dressed like Castro and rode his bike around town dragging behind it underwear he had traded newcomers for firecrackers?
 Discounting the possibility of a nuclear exchange with China
 As I write this, I suddenly remember a woman and severely mentally challenged grown daughter who used to patronize my granddaddy’s gas station. I can’t remember the daughter’s name, but she always carried a baby doll with her and spoke in garbled cassette-tape-getting-eaten slo-mo. My Aunt Virginia told me my grandmama forced Virginia to play with the girl/woman. Click here to see why that might not have been such a great idea.