Perks to Becoming a Senior Citizen

Hoosier Perspectives

Not everything about getting older is bad.

Published on: November 21, 2011

On my way back from interviews in Henry and Hancock County recently, I stopped in Greenfield for lunch. The cashier took my order and told me the total. It didn't seem like it was enough. Fast food is high, but I didn't want to cheat anybody.

"Ma'am, I don't think you charged me enough," I said, digging in my pocket for more money.

"Oh, yes, it's right. You get the senior citizen's discount," she said.

Huh? How did she know that anyway? Turns out their senior citizen discount begins at age 55. I'm past that, but not to 60 yet. I didn't know whether to be flattered or upset. So I just let go of the money in my pocket and took my food tray.

Kids are the first to tell you're ancient. I work with a group of FFA kids, teaching them soil judging each fall. They have to know what poorly drained soils look like. They are all gray in the subsoil. So the joke half way through the season became, "Look, just remember it this way- Mr. Bechman's hair is poorly drained!" So I took to wearing a hat more often.

Perhaps the best story of all happened when my nephew and I went to Louisville for the North American International Livestock Exposition. He was driving when we pulled up to the admission gate at the huge Kentucky Exposition Center complex. A college student, my nephew is 20 years old.

"That will be $17," the older lady said, surely older than me, in her southern, Kentucky drawl. I handed my nephew, John, a couple passes. Admission is supposed to be $6 each, plus $8 for parking. Funny, it costs the car more to get in that it did me, and it had to stay outside.

Anyway, after he handed her the passes, she said, "OK, then it's only $3."

John gave her a funny look. Right under the $6 admission for adults was a line reading $3 for children. His first reaction was she thought he was a kid. What was she, nuts? He was old enough to be driving. Then he saw the line below that: 'Senior citizens, $3'.

Before he could say anything, she saw the puzzled look on his face and said," It's only $3 because your passenger is a senior citizen." We barely pulled away before John had a good laugh. She hadn't even asked for my age.

He couldn't wait to tell his mom and dad that story. "Hey, guess what happened to Uncle Tom?," he said.

His mom listened quietly. She's older than me, although her hair isn't poorly drained. "John," she said after he finished, still laughing, "That happened to me last year."

John got real quiet!