Friday, December 02, 2011

Helloooo, Senior Discount!

I see it’s been awhile (again) since I’ve attended to these pages. November was pretty intense, although mostly in a good way. And now it’s gone.

The arrival of December means I’m barely three weeks away from the anniversary of my birth, and this year’s anniversary marks the arrival of the long-awaited, Much-Coveted Senior Discount.

I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would be shy or embarrassed or offended by reaching the age of 55, or, as I like to think of it, The Midpoint. Just boxes on the calendar, I always say, and if this box is worth a couple of pennies to me, why, so much the better!

Even as I approach my double nickels, I find hilarious the greeting card we (by which I mean Jackie, on behalf of our office staff) got for my former boss on the occasion of her 55th some years ago. The front of the card is your typical American restaurant breakfast: Eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns, pancakes, coffee, juice, etc., all spread out on the table. Inside the card: “Helloooo, Senior Discount!”

I’m not sure our leader was that amused, however. Her comment upon opening the card: “Oh. My.”
At the time, I did sort of wonder if the humor of the card would fade as I approached my own double nickels. It hasn’t. Indeed, I searched online for a copy of the card, with no luck. You’ll have to make do with Clint Eastwood.

Actually, I have now twice received the Much-Coveted Senior Discount. The first was at a marching-band event this past summer. My wife, being a few months older than me, already enjoys the rights and privileges attendant to the MCSD—but of course the age at which the discount is given differs from one establishment to the next. So, at said marching-band competition, she inquired about the age at which the MCSD was offered, and told it was the magical age 55. She averred that she qualified...and when we reached our seats we realized the girl had given us both the discount. I made no objection: Since my teenage years, people have tended to assume I’m older than I am. (It predates grayness, baldness, and fatness.) It worked to my advantage then (almost never got carded at bars), and it seems to be working to my advantage again.
If that occasion was presumptive, the second occasion, last night, was purely generosity. As we were paying for our dinner, I mentioned to the cashier that my wife was entitled to the discount, and that I should return in three weeks when I would qualify, to which she responded, “I’ll just give it to you now.” Early birthday present. Score!!

Mind you, I don’t for a second think the MCSD is anything to which I am entitled, given that “entitlement” has somehow become a dirty word. There’s no particular skill in managing to go 55 years without dying, not when you live in Middle America, at least. A little caution, a little luck, you should be able to muddle along. But I do see the MCSD as something I’ve been helping to subsidize for several decades now, and I have no objection whatsoever to taking a little payback on it now.

But, that said—phooey on those establishments that won’t give the MCSD till age 65. Cheapskates! When I turn 65, I’m going to quit patronizing your joint.

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