Recently, I overheard a woman say she was too old to have long hair.
“At a certain age,” the woman declared, “ponytails and braids just start to look foolish.”
As I pondered her statement, I was reminded of the time my grandmother said that old women shouldn’t wear sleeveless tops. (Conversely, my other grandmother wore pink baseball caps with matching pink shoelaces well into her 60s.)
This brought a question to mind: when is someone officially old? Is a 76 year old woman who bicycles 3 miles a day, every day, old? Or is it the woman who is also 76 but uses a walker and reeks of White Diamonds perfume?
I lost sleep. I paced the floors. I forgot several items on my shopping list because I kept repeating the thought, “When is old, old?” I studied everyone. I took notes. I visited random nursing homes and stuck my head into the rooms before visiting a local American Legion to watch a Bingo game in progress. I then sat and worked late into the night – by candlelight. I compared my findings. I chewed through three pencils and drank two cups of coffee until, at last, I had answered the question to my satisfaction.
“I have done it,” I whispered to a silent house, “I now know when someone is truly old.”
Actually, I didn’t do any of the above. I simply thought about the question as I washed breakfast dishes one morning. But I was – among the suds and aroma of lemon scented dish soap – able to devise a “You Know You’re Old” list.
The Underground Writer’s “You Know You’re Old When …” Checklist*
If you do five or more of the following, you are officially old.
- There is a tissue box in the rear window of your car.
- A flower is taped to your car’s antenna.
- You use the term “slacks” for pants, and wear said slacks when you exercise.
- Everything costs too much, and you have difficulty making a purchase without comparing the cost of the item to what it used to cost “back in the day.”
- You’re astonished that an adult could be born as recently as the 1980s.
- Even if your financial situation does not require you to use the Early Bird Specials at restaurants, you always do so out of principle.
- You are simply appalled by the younger generation: their clothes, music, behavior, and/or electronics. You also take issue with what people are naming their children nowadays. Names such as Kaden, Brooklyn, and Jayden are not real names in your mind.
- If you are female, you wear nylons all of the time – even with “slacks.”
- You find electronics mind boggling. Just as you finally figured out how to set the time on your DVD player, your younger friend questions why you even have a DVD player since they will soon be obsolete.
- Your car is either large (such as a Lincoln Town car) or small (such as a Toyota Corolla). Mid-size cars, such as Honda Accords, are never considered.
- Your reason for visiting the mall is to walk for exercise, and not to shop.
- While sleeping at night is nearly impossible, you find yourself randomly falling asleep throughout the day.
*This checklist has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or any other professional organization for that matter. This list it not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent aging*