This could happen to any of us — it does to me

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Mike Rainone / Hammertime

I love being a senior, and even if I do get a little frazzled sometimes when things get too complicated. I make notes every morning to remember what I have to do, life is great. Whatever the case, it is fun to try and keep up with the 20th century, and if we have a problem, our grandchildren will always help us out.

Some of my ‘younger’ relatives and friends quite often send me emails to remind me how old I am and that I may be slowing down just a little, so I just have to pass this one on to all of you, just in case you may have the odd bad day.

A very frustrating day

$5.37! That’s what the kid behind the counter at the popular fast food restaurant said to me. I dug into my pocket and pulled out some lint, two dimes, and something that used to be a Lifesaver. Having already handed the kid a five-spot, I started to head back to the truck to grab some more change when this kid with the Elmo hairdo uttered the worst thing that anyone has ever said to me: “It’s OK I’ll just give you the senior citizen’s discount!”

I turned to see who he was talking to, and then heard the sound of change hitting the counter in front of me. “Only $4.68,” he said cheerfully. I then stood there stupefied! I am 56, not even 60 yet, a mere child, and certainly not a senior citizen. I finally took my food and walked out to the truck, wondering what was wrong with Elmo. Was he blind?

As I sat and stewed in the truck, my blood began to boil. Old? Me? I’ll show him I thought as I opened the door and headed back inside. I strode to the counter, and there he was again, waiting with a big smile. Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front of me, like I could be that easily distracted. What am I now, a toddler?

“Dude!” You can’t get too far without your car keys, eh?” I stared with utter disdain at the keys, and then began to rationalize in my mind. Leaving keys behind hardly makes a man elderly and it could happen to anyone, couldn’t it? Quickly I turned and headed back to the truck, slipping the key into the ignition, but for some reason it wouldn’t turn. What now? I checked my keys and tried again, but still nothing. That’s when I noticed the purple beads hanging from the rear view mirror, of which I certainly wouldn’t dare have hanging on mine. Then, a few other objects came into focus, including the baby seat in the back, Happy Meal toys spread all over the floorboard, and a partially eaten doughnut on the dashboard.

Moments later I was speeding out of the parking lot, totally relieved to be leaving this most nightmarish stop in my life! That is when I suddenly felt it, deep in the bowels of my stomach — hunger pains. My stomach growled and churned, so I reached to grab my coffee, only to discover that it was nowhere to be found.

Now in total panic I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and boldly strode back into that same restaurant one final time. As Elmo stood there, draped in youth and black nail polish, all I could think was, “What is this world coming to?” All I could utter was, “Did I leave my food and drink in here?”

Elmo had no clue, but as I was walking back out to the truck, a young lad suddenly came up and tugged on my jeans to get my attention. He was holding up a drink and a bag, and then his mother quietly explained, “I think you left this in my truck by mistake.” As I was taking the food and drink from the little boy and sheepishly apologizing, the lady offered these kind words: “It’s OK, my grandfather does stuff like this all the time!

All of this is to explain how I got a ticket doing 85 in a 50 km/h zone. Yes, I was racing some punk kid in a Prius, and no, I told the officer, I’m not too old to be driving this fast. Back at home, I promptly sat in my rocking chair and covered up my legs with a blankey, thinking that the only good news was that I had successfully found my way home, and that we need to save the Earth, as it’s the only planet with beer.

Please let me know about your ideas for more Reflections stories and Remember When photos, and have a great tanning type week, all of you!

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