Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Trying to Accept My First Almost-Senior Moment

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Trying to Accept My First Almost-Senior Moment

Article excerpt

Today I would like to share with you two moments from my delicious, capricious and occasionally malicious life that will forever live in infamy.

The first occurred when I was 21 years old.

I was at work -- my first newspaper job -- and decided to go out for lunch. So, I headed over to the nearest deli, across the street from where some teenage boys were playing handball.

At some point, just as I was about to cross the avenue, the ball rolled my way. And that's when I heard it. Six little words I will never forget: "Mister! Could you get the ball?"

I stopped dead in my tracks, gulped and looked on either side of me, in the hope that they were referring to someone else.

Mister?

MISTER?

When did THIS happen?

I purchased my lunch, headed back to the office and spent the rest of the day staring at myself in the mirror and asking co- workers, "How old do I look to you?"

My boss at the time thought I was overreacting. "What were they supposed to call you?" he asked.

"The weren't supposed to call me anything," I said. "Teenagers don't call other teenagers anything. They just say, "Hey! Could you get the ball?' They don't say 'Hey, mister,' or 'sir,' or 'miss,' or 'lady,' or anything like that. We're all the same. We have an understanding."

My boss didn't understand. He was 42. Old.

Like me!

"So," I continued, "is it my eyes that look old? Maybe it's this haircut. Looks too neat, doesn't it? And these pants. Would you mind if I came in tomorrow wearing cutoffs? Just until the panic subsides?"

Day of Infamy 2 occurred on ...

Well, I have the date right here on my movie ticket: "Mon 05/04/ 15."

That's what is says, right above "Senior $15.50."

My first senior citizen discount! Ever!

Wow. Should I frame it? Burn it? Bury it in the back yard during a full moon?

Actually, I probably shouldn't do that last thing. Going out at night isn't safe at my age.

I can already imagine the headline:

"COYOTE ATTACKS ELDERLY MAN IN WOOD-RIDGE."

As it turned out, Day of Infamy 2 wasn't quite the same as Day 1.

When I got to the ticket booth, the cashier, who was even older than I am, said, "I'm sorry. My screen is stuck on 'Senior Citizen. …

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