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Happy retirement, Pope Benedict
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D. Barbara McWhite grew up in York County, S.C., and lives in Orange Park, Fla., with her husband and cat. Her column is published here each Tuesday. Opinions expressed are solely her own.

The world is in shock after Pope Benedict XVI announced he is resigning as head of the Catholic Church, citing age and health concerns. While many support the Pope’s decision, others are critical of Benedict, saying he should have carried out the duties of his office until his death.

I say, “Way to go, Pope Benedict.” At 85 years old, you deserve retirement.

It can’t have been easy being the “voice of God on earth.” You must be very tired, what with trying to explain everything from God’s perspective -- Like why Nicki Minaj dresses the way she does.

And while other men your age were fly fishing, playing golf and getting their midlife crisis red sports cars, you were defending the faith while wearing long frocks and a beanie and cruising through town in your bulletproof Popemobile. With all due respect, sir, maybe that’s why you don’t have a ladyfriend.

At the end of February, you can finally throw off that unfashionable beanie and buy yourself a pair of khaki pants, a V-necked sweater and a good set of golf clubs. You can finally use your senior discount card on Thursdays and join AARP. You can be like the other folks your age – saying exactly what you want on any subject then claiming you can’t remember it later on.

Now the first of every month you can wait for the mail carrier to bring your Social Security check, and you will finally be able to join the old folk’s chorus as it sings its best-known single, “Its Hard Living on a Fixed Income.” You may also need to learn another cut from their CD: “I Can Hardly Buy Groceries Because My Medicine is So High.”

And, Pope Benedict, if you are set on retiring, you are going to need some grandchildren. You will need grandchildren to love, to babysit and to beg you for money. If you don’t have someone lined up already, I would like to volunteer for that role. So for practice -- may I call you Grandpa? -- I am late with my car payment; can you lend me some money ‘til I get paid?

Now for some things you shouldn’t do: Please don’t dye your hair. It looks so nice all gray. And if you must get a facelift, don’t overdo it (see Joan Rivers and Bruce Jenner). Don’t go crazy and start climbing ladders. I started to mention Viagra, but I guess you won’t need to know about that.

So enjoy your retirement, Sir. Forget being infallible. Be cranky. Take naps in front of the TV. Ditch the Popemobile and buy yourself a Jaguar. Drive slow in the fast lane during rush hour. At 85, you have earned the right to just be human.

A wise man once said, “The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does.”

I’m glad you didn’t wait for your Boss to retire you.

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October 8, 2015
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