Michael Jordan's making retirement look like work

December 06, 1993|By MIKE ROYKO

Standing at the counter in the convenience store, I noticed a stack of magazines near my elbow. Michael Jordan's picture was on the cover. It appeared to be a special commemorative edition, hailing his great career.

As I left, I paused to look at the magazine rack. There was another Jordan cover. I didn't examine it but I assume it raised the question of whether civilization would survive without him.

Later that day, I was going through the paper when I saw his picture in the business section, accompanying a story about his plans to join a business that will start family golf centers.

I read the first few paragraphs, then moved on because I don't believe that golf should be a family outing. Just the opposite: Studies have shown that it is dangerous for couples to play golf together. A husband can be a hopeless hacker, but he believes that because he is male, he must offer foolish tips to his wife.

A few days later, I came across another Jordan story in the business pages. This time it appeared to be about a special commemorative edition of a cereal box that would have his picture on it.

I didn't finish that story, either, because I usually eat a doughnut for breakfast. As far as I know, the bakery where I shop has no plans to put Jordan's picture on their doughnuts.

Then there are the many commercials on CNN for various videos that show highlights of Jordan leaping, twirling, slamming and hugging trophies.

I don't buy those videos because that is part of the past. Now I'm more interested in the present and my new hero, Will Perdue, leaping, twirling and stepping on a small person.

You can also get the big, expensive book of photos of Jordan. You can put it on your coffee table and if you think you are forgetting what he looks like, you can study the pictures in the book. Of course, it is less expensive to clip his picture out of the newspaper and hang it above the fireplace.

In recent weeks, Jordan has been on Oprah's show, Larry's show and other talk outlets. And there are items leaked to the press by his friends about how happy he is and how he might take up baseball.

All of these stories and images make me wonder if Jordan understands the proper and traditional way for a person to retire.

I would have thought that by now he would have bought himself a recreational vehicle and driven to Florida at about 50 miles an hour, pausing at every rest stop and picking up bumper stickers that say he has visited famous caves.

Instead, I read story after story about his signature restaurant, where he eats in a private room so gawkers don't pester him.

Well, if he is really retired, he should be going to the Florida restaurants that offer a cut-rate early-bird senior dinner special.

In fact, I'm surprised that as a retired person himself, he hasn't offered the cut-rate early-bird senior special at his own restaurant.

I also question the way he dresses. In most of the recent photos, he appears to be wearing the same well-cut business suits that he favored before he retired.

That's not appropriate for a retired person. He should have on tan slacks, white slip-on sneakers, a flowered shirt, and a long-billed cap. Sort of a George Burns movie look.

And he really shouldn't be going around saying how much happier he is now that he is retired. That isn't the way retired people are supposed to talk.

For one thing, his wife should be saying how aggravating it is to have him home all the time, getting in the way and moping around not having enough to do. This is what wives of retired guys are expected to say.

And he should talk to other retired guys about his prostate. Scientific studies have shown that the single most widely discussed subject by groups of retired guys is the prostate. In second place is bypass surgery. In third place is government spending. In fourth place is somebody else's prostate.

Jordan probably doesn't even read the obit pages.

All this makes me question if he is really sincere about being retired.

If he's not really retired, he ought to go back to work.

I know a supermarket that can use a spry guy to bring carts back from the parking lot.

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