Hump Day: Growing old disgracefully with an innocent young cashier

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

For my mother’s recent birthday, I bought her a plant from a local nursery. I usually buy her the same type every year because she really likes it. I’m not even sure what it’s called, but it’s quite large, colourful and has loads of blooms. And it’s pretty affordable, too!

Now, I don’t consider myself old, but let’s just say I have a grey hair here and there. I attended my 30th high school reunion this summer, so you can figure it out from there unless your math skills are off. But then again, it may be a trick question since I was the first-ever toddler to graduate from high school by my fourth birthday.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Let’s just say I was the only kid at my graduation after-party who was drinking beer from a sippy cup. Would I lie to you?

I looked around the large beautiful store and drooled over the Christmas decorations. So much nice stuff! I could do some serious financial damage to myself if I put my mind to it in there.

I chose the plant and headed over to the cashier. I was served right away since it wasn’t terribly busy, being later on a Tuesday afternoon. From what I could tell, there was only one other customer in the place and she was behind me at the cash.

The cashier rang in my purchase and looked at me. “Seniors’ discount?”

My heart stopped. “Seniors’ discount?? Oh my God! No! Seniors’ discount? How old do I look? Me? Seniors’ discount?” It was right around then that I pretty much started hyperventilating and speaking in tongues. I was astounded. I forget to slather on my Oil of Olay for one night and I get mistaken for a senior? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s a bit disconcerting when you’re not a senior.) That’ll teach me!

By now, she was half in a panic, too, because she realized that I wasn’t a senior and that I was about to take a long walk off a short pier because of her error. I think she felt worse than I did but because of the number of people who were indeed seniors who weren’t asked if they qualified for the discount, she decided to take a leap of faith and ask.

After I asked which age were seniors considered to be for their discount purposes, she told me 55. “55? I look 55?” That’s it! I’m going to a spa for a boatload of nips and tucks. I’m gonna come out of there looking like a cat. Have you ever seen people who get too much plastic surgery? It seems that they always end up looking like a cat.

Well, I was shocked. She thought I looked 55 (apparently because of my greying temples, she told me), and I was ready either to cry or to hold my face down on a power sander to smooth out my skin. As for the greying temples, soaking my entire head in hair removal cream for a couple hours would render me as bald as a bowling ball. Something else to take the power sander to!

Because of my quasi-hysterical reaction, she figured correctly that I was not at all happy about being asked about the seniors’ discount. Well, she gave it to me anyway, perhaps a peace offering to condone my bruised ego — or to help me to start saving my pennies for the plastic surgery, full-body chemical peel and head transplant.

I then asked her, “How old do I look?” This, of course, is the equivalent of a wife asking her husband, “Do I look fat in this dress?” A “yes” gets you a week on the sofa, while a “no” is met with disbelief and an accusation that you’re lying.

I realize it’s an impossible question, but I really needed to know before I showed up at the plastic surgeon’s office. I needed to know whether to ask for the basic, regular, advanced or “ego emergency” package. To be honest, I didn’t care what she’d end up telling me at that point. I was going to find the first local plastic surgeon that showed up during my online search and be knocking on their door in the next 15 minutes.

When asked by the doctor what was the reason for my visit, I’d simply whisper through mascara-stained tears, “I just got asked for the seniors’ discount for the first time. I want to walk out of here looking to young that people mistake me for a fetus. Ain’t no one gonna be asking me about a seniors’ discount for long, long time! Oh, and while you’re down there, throw in a bikini wax, would ya?”

After my quasi-panic attack, the cashier gave me the discount anyway as an apology for misjudging my age. I paid and looked down at my receipt. It wasn’t a huge discount, but it was still a discount and I saved money. What the heck, eh? I’ll take it! It covered the sales tax, anyway. Who could turn that down?

After that, though, I was kind of half proud of getting a discount. Hmmm… maybe I should rethink that trip to the plastic surgeon. Perhaps I should even buy some grey hair dye and draw on some extra wrinkles, eh? I could get used to this.

When I took to Facebook to whine about being asked about the seniors’ discount, most comments were met with incredulity with friends telling me I didn’t look anywhere near being eligible for a seniors’ discount, while others told to embrace it and take the money and run! I have to admit, turning 55 in 30 years is starting to looking pretty good, don’t you think?

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