Maybe I was being punished for playing hooky in the middle of the day.
I left a pile of work on my desk, threw on a T-shirt and met a friend at the movie theatre.
The cineplex wasn't that crowded, the familiar heavenly popcorn aroma wafted over me and I felt great because I wasn't where I should be. My version of living on the edge.
Within seconds, however, I was shaken out of my devil-may-care "tude" and plunged into reality.
It happened in the flash of a credit card.
There was no human in sight, so Marge and I sidled up to the electronic ticket machine and I pressed "Two" for the 3 p.m. chick flick.
Here comes the punishment part.
I stared dumbfounded at the next screen: "Adult," "Child," "Senior."
Marge's finger started for the "senior" icon. It took me about a nano-second to swat her hand away. "What's wrong with you?" I demanded, "What are you doing?" Marge (who, for the record, is two years older than myself) reeled back. The onlookers waiting to buy tickets inched forward. This was a friendly, smallish crowd who probably had nothing better to do, so they wanted in on the action.
"We're seniors," Marge matter of factly explained to me and to her audience, "and we get a discount."
Our fellow moviegoers thought this was very funny.
"Maybe you're a senior, Marge. Not me. I'm an adult!"
Laughing hysterically, like we were in the first row of a Cheech + Chong movie, we grabbed our "adult" tickets (I won) and waved so-long to our adoring fans.
I settled into the deep, cushy chair with my popcorn and started thinking about those simple, supposedly non-offensive words aimed at baby boomers -- and how that language often evokes negative feelings and thoughts. "Senior citizen," "golden years," "early bird special."
Most of us are trying to keep our bodies healthy and our brains sharp. Do we really need the marketing and advertising world blasting old-fashioned "aging" reminders? Why don't those brilliant, creative minds catch up with young-minded baby boomers? How about coining a word or phrase that would make us feel positive, forward-looking, active and alive?
Enough. I'll end my rant with this story.
Richard, a boomer, accomplished musician and professor, was eligible for a discounted commuter card that would have saved him some bucks. But there was a catch. Emblazoned next to his picture the card would have read ...SENIOR.
Richard opted out. He remained an adult. And my hero.