Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

It’s so much easier in the beginning. How old are you? This many!!! And the beautiful young child holds up three fingers, or maybe four. This is especially cute when they’re wearing a t-shirt that says, “I am 2.” They don’t care how old they are. If you want to have some fun with them, argue. “Honey, actually you’re two.” They will undoubtedly stand fast. No, I’m this many, and hold up three fingers. The fact that you’re the grandparent and held them in your arms the night they were born isn’t of any consequence.

Then, of course, a few years later you ask the same question. “Six and a half,” is the firm, quick answer. I knew one very precocious lad who said, “Seven years, four months and six days.” I’m happy to say that’s not usual, at least in my circles.

The next decade or two is spent aspiring toward the next level: wanting to be a teenager, wanting to be old enough to date, wanting to be old enough to drive, wanting to be old enough to go to college, wanting to be old enough to get in night clubs, wanting to be old enough to get married.

Then some go through the stage where they wish to be 16 again. (Oh my gosh, NO.!) Or they wish they were in college again. Or they wish they were whatever they’re not at the moment.

People make fun of us Baby Boomers. Us “over-the-hillers”. Ask our age and we may well not tell you. Yes, there are a few who don’t want you to know. Not me. I wear “oldness” as a proud badge. When my Mom’s mind was diminished, she didn’t mind telling you her age either. Within the course of one day, the answer might be 97, or 62, or 16 or 104. She is my role model. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.

But, if truth be known, there’s another very valid reason for not telling our age. We’re not all that sure how to answer. I was meeting a group of friends after work one day, and was late getting there. A college student working as an intern in an accounting office said, after I’d been there a while, “When is the older gentleman going to come?” I laughed. Loudly. “That would be me.” The brilliant young lady said, “You’re not old.” I tried to buy her a house, but my friends said it wouldn’t look good. She asked, “How old are you?”

I paused, and I think this might have been misinterpreted for slowness. “Can you give me a range?” I asked. “Excuse me,” she hesitated, now reconsidering that I truly was very, very old.

“I’m sorry to confuse the issue,” I explained, “but I’m not sure where to start. I was born in 1946. My teeth were born in 1993, 1997 and 2006. My left elbow was born in 2006. My left knee in 2006 (there was a special group price that year.) My right knee in 2007.”

Date of Blog Story: 
January 27, 2010

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