“Let’s round-up an angry mob and storm the place!”

That was our granddaughter, a few years ago. A precocious 7 or 8-year-old venting her anger over management shenanigans at a favorite local restaurant. We considered the issue and somehow placated our granddaughter. She clearly thought we should tackle the issue head on. She reminded me of all the high-profile, controversial stories I’d covered in my 40+ years as a TV news reporter. I never backed down!! I was relentless!!  I had to do something!!

Gradually, the hot button issue faded away. Gramps was now in retirement. I’d hung up my guns.

We’ve frequently laughed about the “angry mob issue” over the years. When something comes up that bothers us, someone yells, “Let’s round-up an angry mob!” Giggles all around.

I heard the familiar refrain again, today, in the middle of grocery shopping. I started to laugh and stopped quickly. Two very angry people confronted me. I just stared, trying to make sure they were talking to me. They were shouting!

“We need to round-up an angry mob. That’ll get their attention!”  I continued to stare as my brain shifted into second gear. They — the angry duo —  clearly wanted to do something about the state of our nation. I almost squashed the tomato I was holding.

“I’m retired,” I tried to reason, but they wouldn’t have it. It was just the beginning for me. I was still picking tomatoes a few minutes later when I heard it again.

“This is crap!! We need to do SOMETHING! I’ve had it with this guy!”.  It was a store employee I’ve known for several years. We’ve discussed politics, the economy and local environmental issues between my getting tips on what’s good in the supermarket on a particular day. No such tips today. He was angry — and it had nothing to do with the price of tomatoes.

“Nobody wants to get involved! We need to do something, Garry. This country is in big trouble”. I bit my lower lip and nodded in agreement, hoping to appease what I saw coming.

“Garry, you could do a special report. You know people. You have clout. People respect you!!”.

“I’m retired,” I said it slowly, dolefully. He shook his head as if he didn’t hear me … or it didn’t matter.

“We need to get people involved. We need people to make things right. We’re running out of time, Garry!!”  I bit my lower lip. More people had gathered around. I realized we had a small audience. People were nodding, red-faced, shaking their fists.

I surveyed the crowd. Shook my head solemnly and said it louder. “I’m retired!”.

They shook their heads in disbelief. I could hear mumbles of anger and confusion. I should have anticipated what would come next.

“We grew up watching you on TV. You always told us what was happening. We’ve told our kids about you..”.

The guilt card, face up!

“I’m retired,” I repeated again. They couldn’t accept it. They moved in closer, fingers poking in the air as if I didn’t understand. Of course, I understood. I understand.  It’s hard making sense out of what’s going on with the current administration. Real news is called fake. Fake news is being analyzed as if it’s real. There’s no precedent for this in my lifetime. I have no war stories to share about dealing with the type of people who are now in charge. I covered Presidents from JFK to Bush Number 1. There was lots of crazy stuff over the years but nothing, nada like what is happening today.

I dodged several more small crowds and made it to the checkout counter. I was feeling pretty good because I had found some fresh fruit Marilyn wanted. Head down, I spread my groceries on the counter, glancing at the young woman bagging the stuff. I thought I was free as soon as everything was tallied and bagged.

Free at last?

No! I felt a hand on my shoulder. An elderly man, maybe 80 or so grinned at me. But it wasn’t a happy grin, but a grin of anger. I’d seen this many times before. I braced myself.

“Garry, why the hell aren’t you out there, telling the public about this guy? Everyone’s angry!! You done it before! You done it with them other bums. We could always trust you!”

“I’m retired.”  I said it slowly. Very sadly.

I politely extracted myself from the elderly gent’s strong grip and wheeled the groceries outside. As I loaded everything into the car, I saw a couple of people approaching me. I double-timed the rest, got in the car, put pedal to the metal and beat it out of the parking lot.

In my head, I could hear my granddaughter.

“Gramps, let’s round-up an angry mob and storm the place”.

Categories: American history, Garry Armstrong, News, Retirement

Tags: , , , , ,

54 replies

  1. “Let somebody else do it.”, always seems to be the refrain. If these people can not take it and feel something must be done, then they should get up and do it, rather than find someone to do it for them. I fear you may not be able to go to the store again unless it is a 24 hour store and you go in the middle of the night when no one else is around. Oh, and wear a mask!


  2. Rumor here says petitions only work if they are accompanied with money, otherwise they are discarded by the sponsoring organization. Do you know if that’s true?


    • Probably not. They need the number of signatures, regardless of your contribution. But they WILL badger you for money for the rest of your natural life, whether you donate or not. IF you donate (I twice gave $5 to Obama), they will hound you forever. Your five dollars will have them launch every single money begging scheme on you. Unbelievable. They totally make me crazy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree about the badgering! I actually don’t contribute with petitions because of that badgering — I would simply be paying them to ask me for money!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I add my name, and the next post I get, I instantly unsubscribe. I’ve learned the hard way to get them out of my mail before they build up. This way, I’ve kept them within a level of reason. For a while, they were totally taking over my mail. I resent it, too, because I’m trying to do the right thing and they make it very hard.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand America’s pride in their Foundational Document and the legal/government system that flowed from it. I also understand the concept of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Having said that i stand by my second para above regarding change, not just in America but the entire world.

    We are in desperate need of a new system of governing ourselves. One that unifies all of us rather than maintaining this ludicrously outdated notion of separate countries on a single planet that is shared by a single race of beings (in ‘charge’). We need unity, not division, the ease of travel these days allows for massive migration and massive integration of nations peoples. Countries can no longer lay claim to the separate identity as much as was once possible.

    Recent example? I was watching an ice-skating competition from S Korea on tv. There was an ‘Australian’ competitor skating. She was born and raised in America. Her name and physical characteristics undeniably defined her as being very Chinese in decent. Australia is more and more becoming an international country of foreign migrants with fewer and fewer people living here who were born here as a percentage – i’m one myself (immigrant).

    Like it or not the world is changing and we need completely new structures to reflect and better cope with this; T Rump is but one example of many why that is. Patriotism and nationalism is an attempt to take us back to when things were ‘Great’ – the belief that we can ever go back is a myth and we need to all call it out and agree on what is going to be the new way forward for our race.

    Anyone with me?


    Liked by 1 person

  4. SOMEWHERE along the way the world got a LOT more complicated.

    Trying to run America now on the basis of the Constitution designed almost 250 years ago is, to me, a little like trying to service a Lamborghini Aventador from a Ford Model T service manual in a 1920’s workshop – you are never going to get it running at peak efficiency.

    Things are now never going to go back the way they were and will only change more quickly as technology changes our society in ever weirder, unforeseen ways at ever increasing rates…. until the wheels fall off or we veer off a very high cliff! :-8

    We all need to prepare, co-operate and manage the best we can in whatever ways we can.

    And Pray!


    Liked by 1 person

    • The constitution has been continually remodeled year by year since its introduction. It isn’t the same thing it was in 1789. Obviously, what’s going on right now indicates there are things to be taken care of, but I don’t think we’re going to toss our laws out because they need some tweaking. They DO need tweaking and will eventually get them, but not so fast. It takes time and over all, I tend to agree with that. The basic legal structure is fine. The balance of power is working, despite the crazy people in office. Have you noticed that NONE of Trumps stuff has actually passed into law? Not one thing. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but it has been stopped dead by one judge after another and I doubt any of his big policies will actually pass through congress. That’s pretty good, don’t you think?

      We do need to deal with the whole ‘anyone can be president’ thing, although I think that’s more a matter of party than constitution. I wish we had a parliamentary system. They are more flexible. We need some additional flexibility. But let’s just see what happens.


    • Agree. agree. Agree!


  5. These days (retired), I just keep signing petitions…at least I feel like I’m doing something. Fortunately, the next four or two years may bring positive change. Hoping, praying and signing petitions.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That has to be a little bit frightening. Not only are you retired, your out of the loop. People are still feeling angry and desperate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once, again, Leslie — you’ve nailed it!! People are not only still angry, they are MORE angry as they see and hear what’s going on. Right now, it’s health care (I haven’t checked today’s news yet), North Korea and gawd knows what else is boiling on the stove.

      Yes, I’m retired, out of the loop and very sad. I need a good, old western to cheer me up.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I GOT this…, MEN! LIGHT YOUR TORCHES… WE GOT A JOB TO DO…., Garry you know these bums, right? You’ll tell us how to handle ’em, right? Come on buddy we’re countin’ on ya. Couldja just get outta the car for a minute and talk to us… puuuleeeze? VRROOOOM!, SQUEEEEL! …. Garry., Garr where ya goin’ man… we need you…. Garr?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good gosh, Garry. It must feel great that people still have such faith in you to do things and keep them informed, but…..you’re retired!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lois, it IS a nice feeling to still be held in high regard..after almost SIXTEEN years into retirement. You know, I really wish I could reach out to a Tip O’Neill, LBJ or Teddy Kennedy. They were accessible and would listen.

      They’re gone and I’m retired!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You missed your chance, mister. A few choice words from you and you could have had an entire mob of Uxbridgeans massing in the streets, tar and pitchforks at the ready, as you pointed them in the right direction toward the WhiteHouse–oy, the headlines. Oy, the adrenaline.

    Beyond that, I’d say what you encountered was in miniature what the rest of the country is feeling right now. Tinder, match.

    (And yeah, send Marilyn out the next time) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy, they already quiver when they see Marilyn coming.

      As for me, I appreciate what my “fans” are saying. Seriously, I do. It’s gratifying that they remember my efforts. That’s the ticket for the current news media troops. Effort!! It’s not easy going up against the people in charge right now. But, ultimately, if the news media stays its course and doesn’t yield to cop out stories, they’ll make a dent. 45 doesn’t like to be caricatured. He’s already backing off campaign promises and making enemies within his own circle. It’s a ship of fools.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Old Journalists don’t retire… they’re not that ‘type’. 😉

    I’d send the ‘Iron Lady’ out to do the grocery shopping in future! 😉

    Best of luck, Oirish.


    Liked by 1 person

    • lwbut, I guess we never really retire. But after 40 plus years of fighting the bastards, I must admit the fire doesn’t burn as bright or hot.


      Liked by 1 person

  11. Does an old new hound ever really retire… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh Garry that can’t have been a pleasant experience. You would have had no trouble rounding up an angry mob had you wanted to but then what? As Marilyn rightly says you don’t get a do over. What happens if the man in the White House has to resign? I’m old enough to remember Nixon but it doesn’t sound like the current VP would be a big improvement and I could be wrong but I don’t think your system allows for a new election does it? Even in Australia it is hard to get rid of an elected government mid term although it has happened and changing the man in charge doesn’t help a lot if the same policies are pursued. I guess people just have to let their elected representatives know how they feel and hope that they will “keep the bastards honest.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Help us Gary- Won. You’re our only hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pancho, let’s round up the gang. Yancey, Pahoo, Paladin, Johnny Yuma, Dave Blassingame, Big John Cannon, Mongo and Waco Johnny Dean. Have HEDley wire all the rest.

      Long Branch, Friday, sundown.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. So, you can round up an angry mob of bloggers, Garry!!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. hehe. Still, they obviously appreciated and held you in high esteem, your word on any given subject gold. It’s truly an honour even though your retired, they want a voice that will listen, and you’ve always been the voice of reason. On the other hand, they need to understand that you fought the good fight and still are in your own way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It IS an honor, but Garry really IS retired and has been for 16 years. So it’s not exactly a recent thing. Besides that, I’m pretty sure that half these people actually voted for him. Now they want a “redo.” It doesn’t work like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, on both levels. He’s entitled to his retirement and relaxation after a job well done. I admired his work and as often as he was broadcast to Canada, I got his message and I thought he was honourable and forthright. It meant something then, it means something now. Proud to have met and interact with both of you. It’s a highlight of my day I assure you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Covert, you are right. We really need young, dedicated people who realize we’re in for a long fight in the public arena. We also need some news media stalwarts unafraid to buck their “suits”. It’s not pretty!

      Covert, thanks for the kind words. I tried!!


  16. Oh, dear! Yes, there are people who can’t reconcile your retirement with their wishes to hear from you! And there are still reasons a retiree wants to round up that angry mob — I’m doing that myself on a local level with a Homeowners Board that seems to think the way to accomplish a 2/3 vote of our membership is to bully the membership — it’s like living in a kindergarten classroom, and I’m ready to round up that angry mob! Your post is most apropos, and I know exactly how you felt!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Some of the people around here haven’t yet reconciled the whole “retired” thing. They are sure they saw him on TV just yesterday.

      We lived in a condo in Boston for a decade. It WAS like being in kindergarten. We totally ignored them and eventually, they gave up. And then, everybody did what they wanted and it was fine. Amazing, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I ran into a former colleague just a few days ago — she almost asked me where I’m working now, and it’s been 13 years since I retired!
        The condo thing involves a loan or $5000 special assessment plus dues increase — I think they’re expecting not to prevail for the loan (to be paid off without specific increases), so bullying us to vote for the loan! The last trick was to post notices on garages, color coded by whether you had voted or not (two weeks ahead of the deadline), and with differential messages. Truly insensitive, inconsiderate, and probably against the law!

        Liked by 1 person

        • The problem with condo associations is that while I suppose technically there are laws, no one pays a lot of attention to them. People just battle on through. I really HATED it. Who the hell were these people to tell me what kind of door I could have on my apartment? Seriously? And then there were those special assessments. Some could probably pay them, but most of us couldn’t. It wasn’t that kind of condo.

          We left. Whatever issues we have with our house, at least it’s OURS. I could only see it getting worse with each year.


    • Thank you, slmret. These are the times that try our souls. Bravo to you for your efforts. Marilyn is doing her “bit” with her blogs. I would get actively engaged if I found a local candidate or RESPONSIBLE citizens drive. I have enough left in the tank for that sort of involvement. Marilyn has reminded me that the angry mob mindset was responsible for 45’s election. Now, seeing the error of their ways, they want to undo things in the same manner. We need cooler heads and focus on the midterm elections.


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