17 at Heart, Older in Other Places

It first happened about 14 months before I turned 50.

I went to a Dunkin’ Donuts, ordered my customary hot medium coffee and expected to pay about $2. I handed over two singles but when the cashier rang it up, I got back a handful of change.

I was surprised but chalked it up at the moment to the price fluctuations you sometimes see among different franchises and the fact that I was not paying close attention.

And then I looked at the receipt.

And there it was: A 10 percent “senior” discount.


I was flummoxed.

How dare they let me pay less! I want to pay full freight, damnit!

To hell with saving money! My ego needed saving!

It is not that I am vain about my looks (mostly, I really am not) it’s just that mentally I have the maturity of a 12-year-old.

The Three Stooges.

Making fart noises with my mouth.

Trying to get your friend to splooge soda through the nose with a well-timed joke as he’s drinking.

These things are the art forms that I adore.

Tony Horton, my exercise hero (think of him as this generation’s version of Jack LaLanne) addresses this often in his various exercise DVDs:

“Aging is for people who do not know better.”
“Aging is for idiots.”
“I’m 55 and hello! I feel like 12.”

This might sound Peter Pan-like (sing it with me: “I Won’t Grow Up!“), but on the occasion of one of my buddies turning 17, we got together at his place and took a semi-solemn vow to remain 17 forever.

Granted, this was *cough cough* 33 years ago and happened amid the imbibing of beer and some very strongly mixed Tom Collins drinks.

That image of us, crowded in the hallway of Silvio’s apartment, drinks raised, has stayed with me.


When I asked him about it recently, he wrote back:

“BTW, how did that pledge work out for us <<he asks as both knees pop, his neck creaks and typing this caused a shooting pain from his fingertip to his eyeball>>??? Oh you mean 17 at heart. Owww!”

Well, he has a point.

I guess I prefer to believe that we have no choice about growing older but that growing up is optional.

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