I’ve written about this stuff before, but it bears repeating. If we’re relatively healthy and financially secure, getting old is no big deal unless we choose to make it one. And, if you write for public consumption, it can be a gigantic hoot.
First, old geezerhood endows its geezer membership with ample perspective. And, second, we old folks enjoy an inalienable right not defined in the Constitution: SELECTIVE rationalization. And, we’re not obligated to justify it, either.
Not a day goes by in my search for things to write about that I don’t find something to add to my 71-year-old store of perspectives.
Sometimes I go to a local shopping mall to find human-interest stories that run the gamut from emotionally devastating to emotionally hilarious. And, sometimes I just want a slice of pizza!
I know. I KNOW! Going to a mall EXPRESSLY to buy a single slice of pizza for about $3.50 a slice is a very expensive proposition; only idiots do it. But, 71-year-old selective rationalization can justify it without breaking a sweat.
Let’s say that it costs $1.00 in gas money to make a round trip. You hit the pizza stand and pay $3.50 for a slice of pizza. Simple addition reveals that the price suddenly becomes $4.50.
But, if you do what I do and buy 4-slices, you save a small fortune. Yes, you’re still going to pay the same $1 round trip gas charge, but you’ll be spreading it over FOUR slices instead of ONE.
Again, the arithmetic is simple. Instead of paying $4.50 for ONE slice, you’ll be paying $3.75 a slice for 4-slices. You’ll be saving $0.75 a slice!
Multiply this times four; add a twinge of unique logic and a modest helping of pure selective rationalization, and you’ll have an 85% savings over the price of buying just ONE slice.
AND, if you end up coming away with a storyline, you write the entire transaction off as a business expense. Of course, you’ll use a little different arithmetic. Let’s see… $4.50 a slice times 4-slices comes to $18!
Now, on to some of the human-interest stuff I mentioned above. At what age does someone become a senior citizen? It depends on whom you ask.
According to Boston Market (a restaurant chain), it’s 60-years old. At a few other local businesses, it’s 65-years of age. And, according to 6¾-year old Jessica W, it happens in 7th grade.
Jessica was solidly emphatic about two things as I talked to her at the Concord Mall—she was having a slice of pizza at the table next to mine.
First, her birthday was coming up on November 20 and THAT made her 6¾, NOT quite as old as 7, but well beyond a mere 6! Second, the kids in 7th grade are OLD.
According to her considerable research, once kids get into 7th grade, they change into fuddy-duddies, too old to share the same recess area but not quite old enough to be teachers.
Perspective dictates that no matter how old any of us are, there are those older than we are who unhesitatingly remind us that we’re mere young snots who have no idea what “old” is.
On the other hand, none of us should ever forget that, for those who’ve made it to the mature age of 6¾ years, twelve year-olds SHOULD be prime candidates for membership in AARP.
In fact, when I was 15-years old, I thought that 30 was almost DEAD! And, it seems that by the standards of today’s 15-year olds, folks in my age group are just walking around to save on funeral expenses.
Late this past Saturday afternoon, I stopped at a Boston Market. A woman and her four well-behaved children (estimated age range 8 to maybe 15) were directly in front of me as we waited to place our respective orders.
Obviously, this outing was a much awaited and deserved treat for these kids. But, since mom’s income demanded thriftiness, she quietly cautioned them to use restraint when they ordered. If not, they’d all go home hungry.
She wasn’t a shrill about it. She didn’t threaten them with bottom swatting or anything corporal. She didn’t have to; her eyes spoke volumes to her children. The unspoken message, “Don’t risk your lives by messing with me,” came through loud and clear.
My bill was $9.50, from which the cashier deducted a $0.95 senior discount. Her bill was $31.90 (NO discount) and except for a bottle of water, she bought NOTHING for herself, telling her children that she had eaten a late lunch.
When I asked if they would apply MY $0.95 discount to HER order, the cashier apologized and explained that it was against company policy.
I don’t need a senior citizen discount. It has nothing to do with age, either. Financially, I don’t need it. As well, millions of other seniors don’t need it. But, even though many other seniors do need it, I’d still vote to scrap it for all of us.
There are no such things as freebies in this world. And, particularly in the business world, neither are there such things as compassionate discounts. Yes, it’s true that you will pay less at places like Sam’s Club, Costco, and Target.
But, this is because volume sales make discounts a business incentive, not because the volume discounters are benevolent.
In order for Boston Market to give me an unneeded senior citizen discount, they have to increase the price of all non-senior citizen meals. It’s a stupid practice.
Instead of factoring senior discounts into ALL meals, they should discontinue it and pass the savings on to ALL of their customers. But, I’m not holding my breath.
Besides—in my case anyway—all that money I save by purchasing 4-slices of pizza per mall trip, instead of only one, renders such discounts unnecessary.
I intend to keep on going to the malls in search of things to write about and/or huge pizza slice savings. I might even expand my horizons into soft pretzels and Chic-fil-A chicken strips.
With the savings I amass, who knows what I’ll be able to do for humanity. But no matter what, I WON’T be giving any senior citizen discounts! And, Jessica, have a happy upcoming 7th birthday.
In a wink, you’ll be a member of the old folk’s gang in 7th grade. But, fear not, your perspective will have changed a bit by then and you won’t mind it at all.
As generations before you have discovered, you’ll discover that wrinkles can be alluringly sexy among the wrinkled set.
As for the rest of you, have a great week.
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.