Washed up?

April 7th, 2013 by John Morris

“Washed up old man” was a phrase from story about a time someone called wresting legend, Bruno Sammartino such a thing. Sammartino was about 51 when he suffered this indignity from a former CFL football player and not likely washed up.

Sammartino was trying to clear intruders from the backstage area at a wrestling event. One large man power-squeezed his hand and let fly the insult. Wrestling’s Living Legend replied he was not too washed up to deal with him. Sammartino blocked the man’s opening punch and then knocked him to the ground. The four other men joined the fight.

Famous bad guy wrestler, The Iron Sheik cut short his post-match showering to team with Sammartino. In Bruno’s telling, these two men wiped the floor with the five intruders. Washed up?  Not even close.

I searched the internet for an answer to the question about why we take offense when called washed up,

In America, washed up is a good thing to be if you’re ready to dine. In England, it usually means the dishes are done. But when we Americans hear it connected to any of our cherished talents, you can be sure someone has formed a lower opinions of our worth.

My take on dealing with the charge of being washed up is, unless it’s coming from someone able to discharge you from your job, these words should fall on deaf ears. It’s just an opinion and probably a wrong one.

Is there a connective tissue making the phrase an insult? I like this possibility. When items are found washed up on a beach, they tend to be past their expiration date. Maybe this is the meaning’s genesis.

Yeah, I go with this.

After having written all this, I have no plans to provide anyone with reasons to view me as washed up old man. During my post-retirement years, I’ll set my resolve on extra-firm and repeat the mantra provided to us by Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gently into that good night.”






The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.