I’m the silver-haired youngster in the oldsters set

Burt's Eye View

I’ve reached those awkward years — old enough to be showered with senior discounts but too young to retire.

I qualified for AARP about a decade ago, but Medicare won’t look at me for another five years — possibly seven. And I hear that the customary retirement age could jump to 70 or 72.

My age group is caught in the middle. We’re like the teenagers of the over-the-hill crowd.

According to my handy seniors guide, I’m old enough for a discount at Best Western but too young for the Marriott.

I’m good at Denny’s and Dunkin’, but my seniors server won’t be with me for a while yet at Boston Market or Applebee’s.

Great Clips wants my snowy white top to go through a few more years of thinning out before they snip their price tag.

Why? Because I’m a youngster in the oldsters set.

The other day, a guy told me he goes to schools to share the history of the Korean War.

I nodded. “Yeah, all kids today probably know about it is what they watched on ‘M*A*S*H.'”

The guy rolled his eyes. “They’ve never heard of that, either. That show went off the air 35 years ago. The movie came out almost 50 years ago.” He shook his head. “What are you, old or something?”

Maybe. The United States was born 242 years ago, which means I’ve lived through 24.4 percent of all U.S. history.

I remember rotary phones, black-and-white TV and Elvis Presley movies. I remember how horrified grownups were when those long-haired kids known as the Beatles invaded record stores. (Yep, I remember records, too.)

I even remember a world before Sesame Street and Ronald McDonald. I know it’s hard for a lot of you to believe, but Big Bird and the Hamburglar didn’t always exist. We geezers know.

But Social Security says kids like me have a few more years to give, not take.

It’s confusing.

Fortunately, I found several age tests on Google. According to the combined wisdom of the Internet, I (and you) might be getting older if:

• You sing along when you hear a K.C. and the Sunshine Band song on the elevator. In fact, you sing along with all the elevator music;

• You don’t recognize any of the artists or their songs in today’s Top 10;

• Joint pains and other ailments are routine conversation;

• You finally find your reading glasses on top of your head;

• You crave a dull evening at home;

• Your favorite parts of the newspaper are the obituaries and “50 Years Ago Today,” because that’s where all your friends’ names are;

• You’re married to the little old gray-haired person you helped across the street;

• You’ve quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room;

• Speed limits are still a challenge, but now it’s to try to get the car going that fast instead of crawling that slowly;

• You and your best friend nearly get into a fistfight over pension plans;

• When you bend over to tie your shoes, you look around for anything else you can do while you’re down there because it’s going to be a while before you straighten up;

• Half your conversations begin with the words, “Back in my day…”

— Reminisce with the old guy at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Facebook.

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