Funny, I'm 56

Funny, I'm 56

I'm 56 now and I just don't know where to put myself chrono-geriatrically.

I fought the term "middle age" for so many years that, now that I'm finally willing to accept it, it's too late. I got my AARP card special delivery about nine seconds after turning 50. It had a few discount offers, but using them meant admitting I was 50. This is a major marketing problem for the folks over at Retirement Central, like giving 20% discounts for lepers. Some discount cards people are hesitant to whip out in a movie line.

In my early 50s, I shunned the discounts, but now that I'm 56, some of the really good deals are about to kick in. I had a lot of pride up until about 53, but now two bucks off a movie is starting to sound pretty darn good.

Sixty is a good age, also. You enjoy some serious perks when you're 60. But never, ever say you're in your "early sixties." Any time you preface your age with the word "early," you lose a lot of sympathy and several half-price coupons. Only say "early" when you're 21.

And then there's 65. You can kick back and enjoy all the nifty financial inducements available to you. You won't get as many free admissions as when you were two years old, but at least you don't have to be accompanied by a parent.

The movie theater nearby gives discounts starting at age 60, tempting me to act a few years older with the hopes that they won't check my ID. But I can't win. If they do check my ID, I'll be exposed as the typical pre-penitentiary baby boomer who is so materially oriented that he risks arrest and humiliation just to save two dollars.

On the other hand, if they don't check my ID because they think I really am 60, well, you can be darn sure I'll never go to that movie theater again! I mean, if the kid selling tickets can't tell the difference between 55 and 60, who knows how many toddlers are walking into Madonna movies?

When I'm 60, I think I'll celebrate by seeing a movie with my new discount. Then I'll take the two bucks I saved and go out for a nice, cold beer. I can't think of anything better that could happen on my birthday.

Well, there is one thing: The bartender could check my ID.

Dick Wolfsie writes a syndicated weekly newspaper column and is the author of Dick Wolfsie's New Book and Indiana Curiosities. He also appears on "Daybreak," an Indianapolis morning news show.