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Old 07 August 2007, 08:53 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,642
Tantrum Crabby Old Man


When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Missouri . The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? ...What do you see?
What are you thinking......when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man,.....not very wise,
Uncertain of habit ........with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food.......and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice .....'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice ....the things that you do.
And forever is losing .............. A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not...........lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding ... The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?.......Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes,'re not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am ......... As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten.......with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .........who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen ..with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now..........a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows........that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now ........ I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide ....And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty ........... My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other ....... With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons ....have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, ......... Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children ........ My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me ...... My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ............I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing......young of their own.
And I think of the years...... And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man.........and nature is cruel.
'Tis jest to make old age .......look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles..........grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone........where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass ..... A young guy still dwells,
And now and again battered heart swells.
I remember the joys..............I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and over again.

I think of the years ..all too few......gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact........that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people and see..
Not a crabby old man.....Look closer....see........ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older perso n who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within.....we will all, one day, be there, too!

The best and most beautiful things of this world can't be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart.
God Bless.
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Old 07 August 2007, 09:31 PM
Posts: n/a

Okay, this Glurge wins. I'm crying.
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Old 08 August 2007, 01:11 AM
TB Tabby TB Tabby is offline
Join Date: 13 January 2004
Location: Bolingbrook, IL
Posts: 1,769

I KNOW we've seen this before...
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Old 08 August 2007, 03:54 AM
Mouse's Avatar
Mouse Mouse is offline
Join Date: 10 July 2003
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 7,215

I've seen it before with an old lady rather than an old man, but I can't point where.
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Old 08 August 2007, 03:57 AM
Posts: n/a

wow, a glurge where the poem is actually not half bad...
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Old 08 August 2007, 04:01 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,642

Crabby Old Woman version.
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Old 08 August 2007, 07:46 AM
senshisteph senshisteph is offline
Join Date: 12 July 2005
Location: Ichinomiya, Aichi, Japan
Posts: 538

It's been around a fairly long time. I worked as a care assistant in many nursing homes and residential homes between 1995 ans 2004, and without fail, in every single one, someone would have pinned a copy of this poem on the staff noticeboard.
This is the first time I've seen the glurgy old man story with it though - the paper versions I've seen always attributed it to a nurse.
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Old 09 August 2007, 12:28 AM
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Dropbear Dropbear is offline
Join Date: 03 June 2005
Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 7,237

What irks me about this one is the implicit permission for the man to be crabby or grumpy with staff because he is old. There's a nod to him being frustrated because he is infantalised - which is a reasonable thing to be grumpy about certainly - but that is quickly airbrushed away with lots of stuff which suggests that as, at the end of his life, things are no longer as good as they were when he was young and fit he is entitled to take his grief out on others as grumpiness and that everyone should be sympathetic.

Well, no actually. One's personal feelings do not give one the right to be offensive to others. Lashing out is certainly understandable but it is not excusable. The implicit plea that we give the old grinch a break 'cause he's sad is really about excusing inappropriate behaviour. He doesn't get the right to feel up the staff because he hasn't had sex in a while and is missing it does he?

I am all for respecting the feelings of anyone in pain and all for giving space to grieve but I reject completely any suggestion that we then give them greater latitude to be offensive.

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Old 10 August 2007, 07:58 PM
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Canuckistan Canuckistan is offline
Join Date: 27 March 2005
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 30,122
Frying Pan

Originally Posted by snopes View Post
When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
That would be correct, yes.
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