There are advantages to growing older

There are advantages to growing older By Bob Karolevitz "Be sure to ask for your senior discount," Phyllis said, as I was standing in line to pay our restaurant bill.

"It's sort of a bonus for living so long," she added.

I don't know why, but I've always had trouble putting my hand out for the benefits of age. Oh, I don't mind admitting how old I am. It's just that I've never completely adjusted to requesting the traditional 10 percent off.

"It's not charity," my wife explains. "Just remember what Benjamin Franklin said: 'A penny saved is a dollar earned'."

But I keep thinking of the old Army expression: "Rank has its privileges." I guess I never totally accepted that either.

Actually I should be proud that I'm a member of Tom Brokaw's "greatest generation," instead of sidling up to the counter ready to pay the full price. I should just take the discount as a suitable reward for my advanced maturity.

Little by little, though, I'm accepting the fact that there are advantages to growing older. Why, I even had a free cookie at the bank on Social Security day! And I've renewed my AARP membership, too.

Speaking of Social Security, I want you to know that I got my card more than 60 years ago setting pins in a bowling alley in the 1930s. That'll give you some idea of my approaching dotage. Come to think of it, maybe Phyllis is right. I should be enjoying my entitled bonus.

Age is all in the mind, they keep telling me. Yes, but it's also in aching muscles and rheumatic twinges, too. For instance, it's harder to bend over to tie your shoes, and you have to sit down or lean on something to put your trousers on.

Hills are steeper. You've got to punch new holes in your belt. Hearing aids are a fashion statement, and you can't remember what you had for breakfast.

On the other had, age has a few benefits, too. You can talk knowledgeably (if anybody will listen) about crystal sets, rumble seats, Amos 'n Andy, grasshopper plagues and bottled milk with cream on the top.

You can also get senior discounts!

I should just count my blessings then and be grateful for the years. After all, the alternative is no prize. I should cheerfully accept the lesser fee at the movie house, the ball game and the restaurant with no embarrassment on my part.

Like Phyllis says, "It's an honor, not a hand-out."

Those of us in the gray hair set probably have earned some exchanges for our extended experiences. I guess we should not be bashful about claiming our due.

Still, sometimes I think I don't deserve the special emoluments of age. That's when I recall what Jack Benny once said when he received one of his many awards:

"I really don't deserve this," he said, "but then I've got arthritis, and I don't deserve that either."

That sort of summarizes how I feel about senior discounts.

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