MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Welcome to the club

I just turned the big 55 a couple of weeks ago and I’m already reaping the rewards

Well, that didn’t take long. I just turned the big 55 a couple of weeks ago and I’m already reaping the rewards of joining the silver set, or whatever they’re calling this group that I’m now apparently an active member of these days.

And I didn’t even have to ask for it, ahem.

You see I was just getting takeout for lunch from one of our friendly neighbourhood restaurants recently and the friendly employee was ringing it in for yours truly.

“That’ll be $5.25, please,” he said as I began to hand over the cash. I was just getting a sandwich if you’re wondering about the relatively low total, as I usually bring a drink from home. You know, saving pennies, which ironically don’t even exist anymore, as they say, or at least used to say.

But before I could hand over the change, something suddenly dawned on the employee.

“Wait,” he smiled, happy that he caught himself in time. “It’s Seniors Day. That’ll be $4.50 please.”

Well, OK, I thought I’m saving money here, without thinking about it too much, as I smiled and put the loonie that accompanied the fiver back in my pocket.

But, wait a minute here, the nice young man didn’t even ask me if I qualified and I’m pretty sure the age requirement is 55 and  I’ve only been at that mark for the better part of a couple weeks.

Should I be offended?

The fact that I didn’t even think about it until after I was out of the restaurant and back on my way to work says nyet.

And passing up an opportunity to save 15 per cent on lunch isn’t something I usually give up willingly (which some would say qualified me for membership in this group for awhile now, ahem).

Plus it’s not the first time this has happened to me, although usually employees timidly and politely ask if I qualify, and that’s been happening for a year or so already.

It could be the grey hair, it could be the lack of hair (you  know the old joke – I have so much forehead I have a fivehead, not to mention the bald spot) or it could be the trifocals, or it could be….well you get the idea.

So in the past I’ve either declined their kind offer and expressed appreciation on their approach (a tough call indeed) or when I got real close to my most recent birthday I’ve either accepted it, with some guilt I must say, or on at least one occasion rationalized it away by saying “seeing how I was picking up a sandwich for my much older brother I will gladly accept your kind offer.”

Right. Or maybe wrong.

But this guy didn’t even ask.

He just assumed.

And he wasn’t wrong either.

Now I could rush out and get a haircut, you know get rid of as much of that grey stuff as possible so it doesn’t look so obvious, or I could start wearing my Blue Jays hat 24/7 or I could see if I could find those contacts I used to wear back in the, well, last millennium, or I could……..just accept that I’m part of a club that sometimes gets discounts on everyday purchases and feel good about it.

After all my wife’s already…, never mind.

I have to admit I was reluctant to join this club – didn’t it use to start at 65 by the way? – as I always thought I’d be a little closer to retirement at this point in my life – wasn’t there something about Freedom 55 once upon a time?

And someone assuming I’d been a card-carrying member for years and not weeks, I have to admit hurt a little bit in retrospect, but that’s just “silly human pride,” as some former member of The Guess Who sang at the Performing Arts Centre recently.

So I’m going for it people.

Next Seniors Day I’m gladly accepting what’s rightfully mine. I’ve earned it, dammit.

And I’m seriously considering ordering a drink to celebrate. The golden years indeed.