You hear an old guy in the next line ask for two "senior" tickets to the movies, then get charged $14.
You then ask for one ticket - without designating an age group. The young man behind the window replies: "Seven dollars."
That simple math problem disrupts my - er, your - attempted escape into cinematic fantasy. Torn between whether to take that unsolicited "senior" discount as a windfall or an insult, you look up to the prices posted above the ticket booths. They show that "senior" discounts are for ages 60 and older.
Yet though you turned 60 last August, you somehow imagined that you didn't look it.
Check out my picture on this page. Is that the smiling face of a 60-year-old?
OK, so that picture was taken a while back.
Still, the older you get, the more often you get reminders that time marches on, takes no prisoners and leaves your youth, and even your middle age if you last long enough, ever farther behind.
Meanwhile, beyond personal aging angst lies this guilt-trip puzzle: Why should those seniors - ugh, we seniors - get discounts?
Aren't we already pushing our luck by demanding that younger Americans pay ever-bigger chunks of their earnings to rescue assorted government entitlement programs that aim to take care of us in our dotage?
Aren't too many American geezers increasingly lingering in the workforce past what used to be retirement age, squeezing the already painfully limited labor market for 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-somethings even tighter?
You're never too old?
Then again, with age supposedly comes wisdom.
You be the judge on these two long-serving - and long-winded - South Carolinians:
Strom Thurmond spent 48 years in the U.S. Senate before stepping down at age 100. Fritz Hollings spent just over a mere 38 years in that chamber - all but two as a "junior" senator thanks to Thurmond's endurance - before leaving at age 83.
And John McKissick, who has been the head football coach at Summerville High School since 1952, plans to lead the Green Wave again next season, when he will turn 88 in September
Former star Archmere Academy halfback Joe Biden is the only challenger so far to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. If Biden's bid for the White House succeeds, he would become president at 74. If Mrs. Clinton becomes the second President Clinton, she would be 69 at her first inaugural. John McCain, had he won the 2008 presidential election, would have been 72 when he took the oath.
Not necessarily. Ronald Reagan became president less than three weeks before his 70th birthday and was shot 10 weeks later, yet did a terrific job. Sure, maybe the Alzheimer's that eventually silenced "The Great Communicator" started creeping in during his second term. Hey, Reagan at 50 percent beats the heck out of other post-1960 presidents at 100 percent.
And Winston Churchill helped save the world from Adolf Hitler after becoming British prime minister at age 65.
Among today's aged international leaders: Israel President Shimon Peres (90), Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (turns 90 Friday) and Saudi Arabia King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz (89). That makes Iran's 74-year-old "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a relative whipper-snapper. And while Kim Jong Un's actual age is elusive (the best estimates are 31 or 32), he obviously could have used more seasoning before taking charge of the nukes-packing nightmare that is North Korea.
These kids these days
Much closer to home, Gov. Nikki Haley, who turned 42 last month, won't be getting any senior discounts anytime soon. Neither will her Democratic challenger (again), state Sen. Vincent Sheehen, who turns 43 in April.
As for the shock and awfulness of discovering in a movie-ticket line that you not only are 60 but look 60, at least "The Wolf of Wall Street" then took me on a nostalgic time-travel journey of sorts.
Yes, "Wolf" is depraved.
But it's still entertaining.
And no matter how old you get, you should still heed this timeless advice from lyricist Carolyn Leigh (music by Johnny Richards):
"Don't you know that it's worth every treasure on earth,
To be young at heart.
For as rich as you are, it's much better by far,
To be young at heart"
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.
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