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Lynna Clark: The Box of Shame

As we approached the register I noticed a sign saying, “Please inform the cashier if you qualify for the senior discount.” I wondered what one would have to do to qualify. Would we be asked to show ID of some sort or would there be a test. Perhaps a series of questions like “Who was Commander in Chief when Marilyn Monroe sang a breathy “Happy Birthday Mr. President?” Or something a little more age revealing like… “What is a party line and have you ever listened in on a neighbor’s conversation?” Mama always said that particular sin would surely find me out. But I loved hearing what Pearl had to say to Colleen.

The line moved quicker than I expected and suddenly I was confronted with whether to claim the discount. Apparently I am cheaper than I am vain, so I requested, “Two seniors and one regular buffet please.”

The cute little cashier of approximately seventeen did not question. She did not card me or even look at me quizzically. Surely someone in management would burst from the back and say, “Hold on there lady! Who’s getting the other senior discount? You don’t expect us to believe you qualify! Now just back yourself up and pay full price like the other young whipper snappers!

But alas…

My claim on the senior discount was accepted without question. So my 89 year old mother-in-law and I dined on the cheap while my husband who is a youthful 59 paid regular price.

All because last month I turned… gasp… 60. And yes, in 1974 I robbed the cradle being five months older than my fiancé. The very first distress over our age difference was early in the marriage. It was a June wedding so the license proclaimed in front of God and everybody: Groom = 18; Bride = 19.

Sheesh.

Fast forward a quick three kids later when we visited a church in Georgia. Ushers presented us with follow-up cards. Little check boxes gave the age options [18-25] or [25-30] or [30-40] etc. Since I had turned 26 and David wouldn’t be 26 for a few more months, not only did he check the youngest adult box, he elbowed me and pointed out his witty choice. I did not appreciate being in a different box, especially one associated with the dreaded thirty. He has not always been as wise as he is now.

In fact now he’s so wise that when I looked to him for advice in the buffet line he turned away like he didn’t know me. As he shook his head I heard him murmuring something along the lines of “There’s NO WAY I’m touching that one.”

So once again I find myself in a different dreaded box… sixty and above. I think I’ll make a paper chain to count off the days til July. That’s when my beloved shall also qualify as a senior citizen and finally we’ll be in the box of shame together.

Though I’m still not convinced the discount is worth it.

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