More and more of my friends are retiring. I know this because more of them are phoning to ask me to come out and play with them.

The calls are beginning to take on a pattern.Deegan telephoned the other morning. "Just checking in, buddy," he said. "How's the old putter?"

"Are you calling about the time I phoned your office 18 months ago about the lunch you canceled in February?"

Deegan replied, "Listen, I was running the largest company in New England, and I couldn't return everybody's phone calls. As a matter of fact, the few times I told my secretary to get you, you weren't there."

"Apparently now that you're retired you're not only returning calls but telephoning people from your car."

"You got it. How about coming out and playing a little golf today?"

"You never wanted to play golf with me when you were with Titanic Siding."

"I did, but I only played with people who were important to the business. You know how it is when you're trying to push up the bottom line."

"Deegan, I can't play golf because I have a job, and they expect me to stick around the office so that the guys on the seventh floor think that I'm pulling my oar. Maybe when I retire I'll play 18 holes with you."

"Forget the golf. You wouldn't want to drive down to Florida with me for a couple of weeks, would you?"

"I'm not allowed to. I've still got the reports to finish."

Deegan got huffy. "I called you as a friend and offered you a few hours of relaxation, and you accuse me of interfering with your productivity. We retired people are under no obligation to call our working friends. We have enough others like ourselves to mingle with."

"Why don't you go with your wife?"

"She saw it with me yesterday."

"It's good of you to call, Deegan, and I'm glad to hear that you're doing so well in retirement."

"I love it. There is nothing like waking up and knowing that you have nothing to do all day long. I'll make you a deal. If you go to the shopping mall with me, I'll let you look at my Medicare knee X-rays."

"Deegan, you can't mix retirees with working people. You're different from us because you have more time on your hands than you know what to do with, and you can't understand why others won't come out and play shuffleboard with you."

Deegan said, "If you feel that way, then don't call me anymore."

"You never answered any of my calls in the past - why should I expect you to answer them now?"

"Because these days I have time to talk to you, which is the best time of all when you have nothing to do."