Junction 54: Age-old struggle

I won’t lie, folks. I’m shaken. And I blame the bananas.

The nice little old lady working at the Harris Teeter obviously meant well. Saw me walking up to the self-checkout in my blue jeans, Walt Disney World baseball cap, Godzilla cloth mask with bananas in one hand and Klondike ice cream bars in the other. She took out her little white card. Swiped it across the scanner.

A message popped up:

VALIDATE SR DISC

Remember that moment in Jaws, when Chief Brody’s sitting on the beach on the 4th of July and the panic sets in? The dolly zoom shot? I lived it as my brain processed the meaning of that message.

I got 37 cents off my bill and about 80 percent off my calm and self-confidence. Just like that.

For several years, I’ve ignored and laughed off all the promotional mail from AARP. Back in the Before Times, when I could go to movie theaters and restaurants, no one ever offered me a senior discount. (Although one waitress at the China Buffet *did* ask if John Michael was my grandson, which, yes, cost her a tip. I’m that petty.)

I don’t FEEL old. I didn’t think the senior discounts kicked in until 55. I’m…well, I’m not 55 *yet*. That’s months away, and during the pandemic, it might as well be a decade.

Maybe she didn’t think I was old. Maybe she just wanted to give me a discount. But now it’s there. In print. On computer. ON MY PERMANENT RECORD WITH THE TEETER.

Now I may just watch Tom Selleck reverse mortgage commercials and yell at Rick Santorum on CNN while I binge on bananas and Klondike bars, wiping my mouth with the Godzilla mask.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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