Created By: FishStampede on June 26, 2010 Last Edited By: Worldmaker on March 1, 2011

Rambling Old Man Monologue

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So you wanna know what a Rambling Old Man Monologue is? Well, just stay a while and listen. Back in my day, we didn't have these fancy wikis to find out what a Rambling Old Man Monologue was all about. We had to use newsgroups! You'd post on the newsgroup asking the question, and pretty soon you'd have about 50 replies, half of them about Hitler, and the other ones telling you to look it up yourself, it's been asked and archived! Then you'd have to dig through Dejanews to find out the answer to your question, that was back before they were bought by Google. Now Google seems to own everything, they got the browser, and the phones, and the street maps so they can see what you're doing all the time. It's like 1984, in a friendly multicolored palette, I tell you. I remember that year. I was younger than you back then, just a kid watching Transformers and ThunderCats (1985) and G.I. Joe, and now you see them on the big screen and they're nothing like they used to be, nope. Nothing at all.

You know, sometimes I miss watching those cartoons. Of course, some naysayers used to accuse them of being nothing but half-hour long toy commercials, but I don't care much about what critics say anyhow. They were fun, and if they sold a bunch of toys, well, where's the harm in that anyway? I used to own those toys, too, even though they were aimed at kids a couple of years younger than I was. What can I say, they were fun to play around with, and when you finally realized you were too old for them you just passed them on to your younger brother or sister and they enjoyed them for a while.

Now that I think about it, I think my brother's kids are still playing with one or two of those toys to this day. Made them to last, back then. Not like today when things are designed to break after just a couple of days once a kid gets their hands on it. Back then, when they built a toy, they really built it, know what I mean? Of course in those days most toys were made out of steel and aluminum and not plastic like they are made today.

Eh? What? Oh yeah, the Rambling Old Man Monologue. It's the tendency of an old person, normally male, to go off on a long-winded rambling speech about no subject in particular at the drop of a hat. Somehow the old man never seems to actually get boring, though for some reason he has a hard time staying on topic. You know how some old people get... its not really their fault, really. Its hard to keep things straight when you're that old, and sometimes a lifetime of experiences just seem to intrude on the thought processes.

Oh, did I do it again? Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh, yes, I remember. Anyway, it'll mix in admonitions of today's youth with fond recollections of the past, anecdotes about fashion, detours into politics, and pretty much any other subject imaginable. Not that there's anything wrong with todays youth per se, or that fashions of the past were all that better... though now that you mention it I'm not sure I cotten to what young girls these days call "being fully dressed". Why, in my day you only found women going around showing as much skin as girls do today in hoochie coochie shows. Not that I ever attended many hoochie coochie shows. Just that one time with my Navy buddies, and I suppose that can be excused, you know, what with the War and all. Its just that sometimes it seems these days that you young people just weren't raised the same as we were back then. Different times, I suppose.

I remember one time... must have been back in, oh, I figure 1973 or maybe 1974... I think it was while Gerry Ford was president, so when was that anyway? I guess it doesn't matter. Anyhow, I was talking to my neighbor George and he commented on how the kids from down the block had been playing that disco music at all hours of the night and how he was getting tired of it and wanted to call the cops. I said to him, "Now, George, remember how our folks were back when we were listening to Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper." But then I remembered that George had always been more into singers like Buck Owens and Ernest Tubbs than Buddy Holly, so I don't think I scored any points there.

Hmmm? Yes, I was getting to that. Almost invariably, the target of the monologue is too polite to interrupt, and the old man seems to have mastered the art of talking without breathing, since despite his slow pace he never so much as pauses. I think that's just a matter of having respect for your elders, really, something that is sometimes a rare commodity these days, if you know what I mean. Now, I don't blame the kids. It was the way they were raised, what with the television and the video games and that rock and roll music of theirs.

Anyway, you didn't come to hear me waste your time, so I better just answer your question. Basically, this is when an old man starts talking and just won't stop. Huh? I already said that part? Well, that's okay. Anything worth saying bears repeating.

Related to But I Digress. Occasionally the result of the old guy being a Motor Mouth. Sometimes invoked intentionally by an old person who wants to hold the floor. Occasionally combined with elements of When I Was Your Age.... Compare Grumpy Old Man, who usually only indulges in this trope when he's pissed off.

There is definite Truth in Television here, and any insight into why this is would be most appreciated.



  • Mr. Wojakowski in Connie Willis' Passage has a tendency of rambling off into WWII stories when he should be talking about his Near-Death Experiences. Then again, his WWII stories are mostly made up...
  • Coleridge's The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner is an example, from 1798. Making this Older Than Radio.
  • Likewise, Mark Twain's The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is made of this trope.

Live-Action TV
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Captain Picard recalls a seminar where the elderly Dr. Fesbender went off one such speech. It was really quite hypnotic.

Video Games
  • EverQuest had an NPC called Old Man Mc Kenzie. The official description of him is: "Old Man Mc Kenzie, a frequent patron of the taverns in the Plane of Knowledge, thinks you adventurers have it too easy these days! Back in his day they didn't have all this fancy armor and magical weaponry, they relied on their wits and not a little luck to survive! Think you've got what it takes to survive in Mc Kenzie's Gold era?"
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Jolee Bindo is accused of this a few times.
  • Oldbag from Ace Attorney does these so fast that they are sometimes unreadable.
  • Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Listening to such an old lady ramble on (and then fall asleep as she does so) is a way to skip ahead in time if you don't have the Song of Double Time, though if you manage to stay awake and listen to the whole story, you earn a mask out of the ordeal.

Web Original
  • Weaponized in Naruto: The Abridged Series, by the Hokage, with "Old Man Monologue Jutsu!"

Western Animation

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