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Good Advice From Salt Lake’s Old Coots

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Ever wish you had the wisdom that only comes with age? One day you will. In the meantime, you can visit the “Old Coots Giving Advice” tent in Salt Lake City!

Who do you turn to when you need to talk about your feelings, or when you need a little bit of advice? Most of the time it’s either a spouse or a BFF, right? Venting to a friend is the good stuff. They know you, and they support you when you say crazy things like how you want to steal a grocery cart and use it as a planter in your front yard.

The Old Coots Therapists Are Open for Business

Growing up, men of a certain age in my town were called “coffee drankers.” You probably have them in your neck of the woods. They’re a small gang of men who are usually retired and like to meet at a local cafe every morning, “drank” coffee, tell stories, reminisce, and argue a little.

I’ve often thought I’d like to be a fly on the wall to hear what goes on in those conversations. If I hit up the Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market, maybe I can.

The Washington Post says all you have to do is look for a card table with a banner that reads, “Old Coots Giving Advice — It’s Probably Bad Advice, But It’s Free.”

Gus Wheeler, Lou Borgenicht, Carol Sisco, Rich Klein, Chris Vanocur, Tony Caputo and John Lesnan are the coots behind the idea. (Bless ’em, there is a woman in the mix!)

They’re giving advice because… why?

Apparently those mornings together knocking back black coffee had grown a little stale. I guess they solved all the world’s big problems and needed to share their wisdom with people outside their group.

“We were sitting outside, bored stiff from talking to each other, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to get us a booth across the street at the farmers market, where we can give advice,” Tony Caputo told WAPO in 2018. 

He had a banner printed and just like that, they became amateur life coaches. Sure, they thought it was funny. It was a goof to shake things up a little. They didn’t really expect people to actually line up to talk to them.

As a matter of fact, local people were all over it. They kept coming and coming.

The kinds of advice the Old Coots dole out.

To be clear, folks know who they’re asking. No one is expecting Sigmund Freud to fix everything by analyzing their dreams.  Asked if they are qualified in any way to offer up advice, they reply with a resounding “absolutely not.”

“But neither was Ann Landers. Hopefully, we won’t mess people up too much.” Tony Caputo said.

What’s their answer to finding love?

The number one topic brought up to them is about love and how to find it. Checks out. People want to be loved. Although we live in a big world with a wealth of technology, it can be hard to find someone to love you and who you can love back.

They say to get out, do stuff, meet people. Take part in activities you enjoy so you can get to know people who enjoy them, too.

It’s not only people who want to find love that stop by. There are plenty of folks asking for advice to help keep their love alive and fresh.

“I always tell people that the first thing you do is put down your phone and start talking,” Rich Klein said. They routinely prescribe kindness, being a good listener, and laughing as a way to keep a couple happy and together.

PREACH, Rich! I’m with you.

Above all, no politics or religion questions allowed.

Nothing will get the dander up like those subjects. They do keep a pad of voter registrations with them, which is awesome. (No excuse for not voting, y’all. If you’re not registered or can’t remember if you are, click here to get it done.)

To be sure, strange questions pop up.

One man told the coots that he lived in a haunted house and was being bothered by ghosts. The coots told him to hire a therapist and a medium. That’s going to be my new go-to answer to any and all problems for which I have no good answer.

Hire a therapist and a medium. You’re welcome.

(Thanks to Rare.us for first sharing the story.)

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