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Alfred M. Albers

Author & Magician

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Reflections

By Al Albers

 

 

            As my birthday loomed closer, a friend, Todd, asked me if I had any plans for this noteworthy day.  (Todd is two years my junior.)

 

            “Huh?” I said.

 

            Some people reflect on how they spent their birthday the previous year.  That’s not me; my birthday is just another day of the week.

 

            “Don’t tell me you’re going to sit in a recliner and do nothing all day,” he replied.

 

            “I’m debating it,” I answered.

 

            I knew I was about to get an earful.

 

            “Where do I begin?” Todd said.

 

            Is there an unwritten rule that a newly minted 65-year-old celebrant has to do something totally outlandish; something that’ll take the wind out of one’s sails and render one’s spouse speechless?

 

            I hope not.  I don’t like heights – never have – and my wild ‘n’ crazy teenage years are long behind me.

 

            There is, however, a “historical” association of reaching old age.  Anytime the word historical is mentioned in a conversation, it’s really a code word for antiquity.  Todd avoided saying “the word” during our conversation, but in some parlance I think he was subtly implying that in a few days – whether I like it or not – I’ll gain entry to an exclusive fraternity that’ll allow me to chinwag with folks known as “senior citizens.”

 

            Chinwag?

 

            “Just think of the entitlements you’ll be eligible for, Al.  A senior discountat restaurants; movie theaters; airline, railroad and bus transportation; etc.”

 

“I’m overjoyed, Todd.”

 

“What are friends for!  To save you time and effort, I searched the Internet and compiled a list of discounts that are available to … uh … you.  It’ll be inside your birthday card.”

 

I didn’t respond.  Intentionally.  I hope no one expects me to change my demeanor.  If change is something to be expected of all senior citizens, I’ll be returning my membership card.  If anything, I may have to crank up the argumentative reputation I’ve spent years developing … much to the annoyance of those who were the unlucky the recipients of letters I’ve written.

 

            “You still there?” Todd asked.

 

            Silence is golden; it’s a balance to everything that occurs in the universe.

 

            “I think you’re making a big deal about an issue few people, if any, really care about,” I casually replied.  “That number…”

 

            “Having a difficult time saying the number?” Todd laughingly asked.

 

            “Sixty-five,” I exclaimed.  “Feel better?”

 

            “Hearing you say it – YES!”

 

            ‘I’m happy for you.”  I paused … in case Todd had planned on inflicting one of his wisecracks.

 

He didn’t.

 

“As I was saying, that number doesn’t dictate how I feel, how I go about my daily activities, or how I think.  It’s simply a number; nothing more, nothing less.”

 

“Al, I’ve another call … hold on a moment.”

 

Less than a minute passed.  “Al, it’s my bookie … oops, I meant broker.  I’ll catch up with you in a few weeks.  But before I hang up, can I offer you a suggestion?”

 

“I’m listening.”

 

“The next time you and the missus go to Wal-Mart, use valet parking.  Valets don’t forget where they parked your car.”

 

A dial tone ended Todd’s roaring laugh.

 

I got the last laugh, though.  A box with an inflatable walker is due to be delivered to Todd’s home by 8:00 p.m. this evening.  It’s marked C.O.D.

 

Next time he’ll know not to irritate a soon-to-be senior citizen: me.