The Bobs Get Philosophical over Coffee

By Bob Gaydos

“Do you think there are a lot of dumb people in the world?” Ketchup Bob asked Writer Bob.

“Wow, good question.”

The two friends were having some oatmeal (Writer Bob) and coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, ruing the fact that neither had bought stock in the company since this store was swamped with people desperate for coffee and no electric power at home, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

There was a follow-up question: “Would you rather be smart and worry about all the things there are to worry about in this world — war, bigotry, hatred, disease — or would you rather be dumb and happy in your ignorance?”

This one was easy for Writer Bob. “Smart, any day,” he said, hoping to sound humble, “because, to me at any rate, it means being aware of yourself and the world you live in. Being aware that you always have choices and they can ultimately produce either conflict or contentment. It also means you can recognize opportunities when they present themselves and choose to follow where they lead. Knowing that is an empowering feeling. It also can produce what we call happiness, I think. End of philosophical answer to down-to-earth question.”

“That awareness,” Ketchup Bob added, “can also be vital in deciding how you fit into society, what you can do to contribute to the world, what your gifts are, music or science or art, for example, and how to best use them.”

This conversation was already getting too deep for morning coffee and Writer Bob, so he changed the subject.

“How come some people act so much older than they are?” he asked. “They seem to relish just being old. They act like it’s all over and they’re just waiting for the inevitable. I was with a group of people the other day and someone remarked, as a joke, that at least he wasn’t as old as the guy sitting next to me. The guy was someone most people probably would describe as an old man, but I had a hunch. As we were leaving, I asked him how old he was. I was right. He was several years younger than me — and you. I’m not bragging, just wondering.”

“I don’t know,” said the youngish-looking Ketchup Bob, “maybe it’s a mindset, a lack of motivation. Some people just seem to give up, like they have nothing to live for, nothing to contribute, so they don‘t care about their health or how they look. People tell them that they‘re old, so they act how they think old should act.”

“Are we back to smart or dumb again?”

“I don’t know. It may be more about faith and hope.”

“And awareness. I think in order to carry on with a purpose in life you need to be aware that faith and hope aren’t just high-minded words. I’m not talking about a blind, follow-the-leader kind of faith, but something inside that tells you there is a reason for your being here and it’s not just to be miserable and use up the oxygen. That there is hope, as well as life, after 50.” (Give me a break; I’m not telling.)

“Well, if you believe that, then you will have motivation to live, to enjoy life each day you have and to be as vigorous and productive as you can for as long as possible.”

“So is that smart or dumb?”

“I’d say damn fortunate. See you next week.”


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One Response to “The Bobs Get Philosophical over Coffee”

  1. Bob Mullin Says:

    I have a sneaky suspicion that Ketchup Bob is younger than Writer Bob, but I’m not getting into smarter or dumber if that last word is a word, which only Writer Bob would know.

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