Regular readers of this blog will know that one of my on-going retirement themes has been what I have called the missing link. This refers to that persistent and sometimes debilitating feeling that something is missing from my retirement life. That feeling that there must be more to retirement life than this despite my very best efforts to cover all bases. I’ve referred to my values and tried to make sure that I have activities that tick all the right boxes – being creative, learning new stuff, having an active outdoor life, like the vineyard, balanced by the intellectual indoor like this blog. But still that nagging doubt that something is missing. Well, at last, I may have found that missing link. Quite simply it is crime, the planning and committing thereof.
I must admit that I am not by nature, at least not for the first 67 years of my life, criminally inclined. The worst I’ve ever done was a little book lifting as a student and the odd speeding fine as my moral compass developed. He’s lost his mind you’re thinking. Well, that’s quite possible but let me explain my thinking and then you can be the judge. The idea was born when we were watching an item on the 6 o’clock news. It was about supposedly the biggest robbery the UK has ever had and called the Hatton Garden diamond robbery on account of it taking place in the Hatton Garden diamond district of London. This has been an on-going item in the news in the UK and this final episode concerned the sentencing of the 3 remaining robbers (one is still at large with the most part of the booty, is that the right word? I must get the terminology correct if I’m going into the crime business). What grabbed my attention about this particular crime is that the total age of the three sentenced was well in excess of 200 years. I can’t remember the exact figure but they were, by most standards of retirement, very old. One of the previous cohort sentenced was in his eighties I think. They were, in the spirit of this blog, unfortunately unsuccessful but what a boost for the elderly in this country. There’s a real feeling of ‘can do’ in this whole episode. Who says we’re over the hill at 70? They will be by the time they come out of prison but for now, or rather until quite recently, they were out there and doing. This activity had everything that Age Concern or whoever would recommend to elderly people – intellectually engaging, developing the plan, requiring social interaction with peers (they were secretly filmed meeting in the pub to plan the robbery), a need to learn new skills (like drilling through a 3 foot thick concrete wall), physically active (they had to crawl through the very narrow hole when they’d drilled it and then bash open apparently 73 security boxes), stimulating and exciting (keep the Alzheimer’s at bay) and, if they had got away with it, no need to worry about their state pension being enough. Indeed as they’re now in prison they don’t need to worry about their pension anyway.
All these factors, as we watched and later read about the robbery, are smack bang in line with my retirement values – learning new skills, trying new challenges, being creative, probably writing a book about it at some later stage, physically challenging. Perfect, can’t think of why this didn’t occur to me before. Of course it wasn’t all glamour. The item on the news we were watching mentioned problems of, quote, ‘infirmity and incontinence’. Hmm, not sure what this meant as the news didn’t go into detail unfortunately, don’t they know I’ve got a blog to write? My newspaper said they left ‘without leaving a forensic trace at the scene’, so that’s puzzling. But they were in there a long time, they even went home, presumably for a pee or something, and came back again. As a bonus for me, one of them was reportedly diabetic, again I don’t know how this was known, surely he didn’t leave his needle behind, that’s just asking to be caught. Anyway we will never know, but let’s hear it for the diabetics of the world.
The part we really enjoyed was that one of the robbers went to the robbery on the bus with his free OAP bus pass. Unfortunately his lack of knowledge about modern technology meant that he didn’t know that he was tracked to the scene of the crime by electronic surveillance on said bus pass. But marvellous use of government funding nonetheless. As a bonus the TV news showed the security guard enacting his response to the alarm being set off. He walked up to the door, tried the door, it was locked, looked through the letter-box, couldn’t see anything (really, did he expect them to be sitting there in the hall with their masks and swag bags?) and so went home. The bad news is he looked about 80, so not such a good an advert for the aged.
Anyway, all this inspired me to think again about leading a law-abiding retirement. Is the world ready for a latter day Robin Hood? And then, of course, the question was, if I was going to commit a crime, which particular crime should I be inspired to commit? Well, certainly nothing violent or unpleasant, that wouldn’t be my style at all. I’m not clever enough for any form of cyber or internet crime. I quite like the idea of some form of vigilantism for people who commit crimes against animals but that might be missing the point. And nothing that had a clear and undeserving victim. I know there is much debate about whether it is possible to have a victimless crime and my view, for what it is worth, is that it probably isn’t. But that said there are victims and then there are victims and the ones I have in mind are energy companies and bankers for example. Yes, I know the moralists out there will say they will only pass the cost of any robbery / embezzlement whatever, onto us the public. It will be us poor bastards who pick up the tab. And I can only agree but I can’t allow small moral issues to stand in the way of this retirement solution. Those of you who have read these blogs regularly will know just how long I’ve been searching for the missing link, so something has to bend if this latest of my projects is going to fly. No solution is perfect you know and a little moral ambiguity never did anybody any harm.
So there we are, this is my latest scheme for a fulfilling retirement. Maybe it has one or two small flaws in it as a plan but sometimes when you’re a retired person you have to compromise. I’ll keep you informed as to how my potential life of crime pans out and if this blog stops for a while, then you will know that my latest project has not met with 100% success.