The old snarl “Act your age, not your shoe size” didn’t really hurt until I was rather a lot older than fourteen, for reasons which might be self-evident. I am, of course, a lot older than “a lot older than fourteen” these days; heck, this Web site is pushing sixteen now. And I occasionally get weirded out by the sheer span of those years: yesterday, in the midst of something else, it occurred to me that it had been forty years since I’d taken the Oath of Enlistment, which happened on the morning of 31 March 1972.
A coworker stared at me. “I thought you were, like, forty-eight or so.”
“Thank you,” said I. “I will turn sixty next year.”
Now if I ever wanted to go broke in a hurry, I’d become a carnie and set up a Guess Your Age booth: I am far from ept at this fine art. (Someone asked me once “How old do you think I look?” I came back with “Can I cut you open and count the rings?” No, I couldn’t. Go figure.) I have no idea what “sixty next year” is supposed to look like; I have the requisite amount of grey, sort of offset by the requisite amount of male pattern baldness, but perhaps I’m not as jowly as I think I am. Traces of ancient baby-facedness lingering, maybe.
This much I know: I am not likely to get carded, unless I’m doing something outside my everyday routine, like buying beer or um, voting.