I’m close to reaching a significant milestone in my life. In several days I turn 66. That means I’ll leave middle-age status behind. I don’t mind being labeled as middle aged. It has a good ring to it. Unfortunately, old-age status is next in line. There will be no celebration.
At 65, I was forced by higher powers to start receiving Medicare. I refer to it as Medi-No-Care. I’m still filling out forms. Seasoned Medicare recipients tell me the paperwork is endless. Why do they do this to retired people? It’s not like we don’t have better things to do.
The first person I recall being referred to as old man was, “Old Man Jones”. This gentleman owned a trailer park in Selma, Alabama. Many adults called him that including my parents. I suppose he had a first name but to my knowledge it was never used. Being taught to respect our elders, my brother and I were instructed to call him, Mr. Jones.
Being referred to as Old Man Hankins doesn’t bother me. I’ll get use to it. I’ve been called far worse. “Mr. Hankie” was one such name from my work days. It was not used out of hate, but out of humor. I laughed along with them. Some will recognize this name from the cartoon series, South Park.
According to an article in an Arizona newspaper, men are considered old at age 66. Women don’t reach that plateau until 72. My wife says that’s because women live longer.
I’ve often thought of what benefits lie in reaching old man status. Of course, ‘senior citizen discount’ ranks right up there. I’ve been getting that perk going back some 10 years; even longer. It seems odd that I received senior citizen discounts as a middle aged man?
The other day I was pulled over for speeding. The officer asked if I knew how fast I was going.
“Ninety?”, I politely answered.
“I clocked you at 89.” was his stern reply.
The policeman wanted to see registration and proof of insurance. I opened our packed-full-of-clutter glove box as he carefully watched through the door window. Joleen began pulling out expired registration after expired registration, one at a time, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, until she finally found the right one.
When she began repeating the same routine with insurance cards he informed her he’d be right back. Unbeknownst to the fellow, we had one for every year going back to 2009. I’d meant to toss the expired cards but never got around to it.
As she continued to search the state trooper walked to his vehicle. A few seconds later he returned with an official looking paper. It was a warning. He smiled before advising me to slow down. I believe we were given a break only because he saw us as bumbling seniors.
As we wheeled back on the road I said to Joleen,
“Why didn’t this happen when I was younger?”
It seems whenever I venture to the grocery store I’m always asked if I need help. This began a couple of years ago. I’ve never accepted the offer but perhaps I should. With plans on doing some painting around the house I could use an extra hand.
Reaching old age status means I can intentionally say stupid things and get away with such. Many young people associate old age with decreased mental capacity. Why disappoint them!
The other morning in a restaurant, with straight face, I mentioned to our server that it looked like rain. Gazing out the window she saw exactly what I did; perfectly blue skies. The gal nodded and agreed with me probably thinking I had lost it.
I’ll take this old age badge as far as I possibly can. Tax breaks, discounts, coupons, deals, free meals, desserts, pencils, pocket protectors, and all other precious gratuities will be gladly accepted. I’m sure Old Man Jones would’ve done the same.
After old age there’s one more status to be had. I rarely mention it for obvious reasons. Dearly-departed status does not excite me at all.
With God leading the way, I plan on riding the “Old Age Stage” ’til its wheels fall off!