You must be this old to pull this crap

I’m not sure what the reading is supposed to be on one’s personal odometer when it happens, but most assuredly it does happen:

There’s a dimension of latitude that comes to some of us with age. It would be a mislabeling to call it “freedom”; typically, an individual is just as free before he turns decrepit as afterward. It’s more about the lessening of some of one’s personal inhibitions. Other people’s opinions of us and our choices matter less. We no longer worry as much about “setting a good example for the children,” whether our own or those of other parents. Some of us get a little careless about a few things — vocabulary, associations, flirtations, certain indulgences we carefully limited in our younger years — and become rather insouciant about them.

It’s certainly that way with me. (Send $20.00 and a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the details.) As I look a bit younger than I actually am, I draw a fair number of dubious looks and disapproving comments for it. My usual response to those bothered by my little ways is to shrug, smile, and say “Too bad for you!”

The mistake I made was believing I’d reached that point half my life ago. And back then, there were enforceable penalties for insouciance.

Still, I suffered no consequences even then for peccadillos at this level:

I sing along with the music in retail establishments, at least if I know the tune and the words. I can carry a tune, and I’m told my voice is decent, so I get some pleasure out of hearing something I know from years ago and joining in. The way other shoppers look at me is often enough to blister paint. Now and then, one will actually approach and upbraid me for it.

Which is remarkable, since I couldn’t carry a tune even if I sewed a handle on it. That said, I do have one mitigating factor on my side: I usually know the words. People who don’t know the words will typically concede me a couple of points on that basis alone.


  1. Lynn »

    24 September 2017 · 1:16 pm

    I guess I’m there. Or getting there. I used to worry about getting “too dressed up” or being the only person dressed up but I finally decided that if I don’t dress up for no reason I”ll never have a reason to dress up so now I wear what I want and no longer care if I’m the only one wearing a dress where everyone else is wearing jeans.

  2. Lynn »

    24 September 2017 · 1:18 pm

    In other ares though, I’m still working on it.

  3. fillyjonk »

    24 September 2017 · 1:42 pm

    I suspect I will never get there, and will go to my grave giving a “hard f***” what others think.

    I need lessons in caring less about stuff.

  4. Roger Green »

    24 September 2017 · 4:16 pm

    Leonard Cohen on Stages Of A Man’s Allure To Women

    Y’know I was talking with some of the guys . . . some of the guys in the band are kind of over the hill. And they were talking about the various stages that a man goes through in relation to his allure to the opposite sex. It was not a scientific evaluation . . . just something that arose over a cup of coffee.

    It went something like this: You start off irresistible. And, then you become resistible. And then you become transparent – not exactly invisible but as if you are seen through old plastic. Then you actually do become invisible. And then — and this is the most amazing transformation — you become repulsive. But that’s not the end of the story. After repulsive then you become cute – and that’s where I am.

  5. CGHill »

    24 September 2017 · 5:38 pm

    I think I’ve slipped out of sync with those stages.

  6. Francis W. Porretto »

    25 September 2017 · 4:16 am

    (chuckle) Well, Charles, given the breadth of your music collection and your devotion to it, I’d be amazed if there were a song written since 1960 to which you don’t know the words.

  7. Holly H »

    25 September 2017 · 9:36 am

    My husband and I walk hand-in-hand at the mall. Several people have called us “cute”.
    Eeks, now I know what they mean.

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