Lying about your age - it's almost a cradle to grave phenomena in this country. When your 9 ½ years old and dying to be ten, you're ten.
When you're 17 years old and dying to drink with your buddies at the bar, you're 19. The day you signed on to the online dating service you shaved a full five years off your birth certificate. The vanity of women has those in their mid-50's admitting to being "forty something." The vanity of men saw venerable comedian Jack Benny die at age 80 but was still only 39 years old.
And now, according to a CBC-Radio documentary aired on Sunday Morning, Canadian men and women in their 50's and early 60's are lying about their ages. But they're not subtracting years to appear younger, they're adding years to their correct age in order to cash in on senior discounts. Apparently, it's become a widespread problem in a country where the only thing faster than the aging of Baby Boomers is the race between retailers to grab a piece of their pensions.
Apparently senior discounts - not that I would know anything about it - are available at drug stores, department stores, art galleries and casinos where women over 60 sit for hours on end dropping quarters into slot machines. Thank goodness for Depends.
The biggest bonus for seniors is at the cinema where they can save five or six dollars on the price of admission. The problem of underage seniors scamming this sizable discount is made worse by the age of the people who work at the cinema. They're teenagers. Teenagers think anybody over 30 should be sprayed with Lemon Pledge and placed in a museum. If you don't start your sentences with "Omigod" or "It's so surreal" they don't want to hear from you.
If teenagers ruled the world senior citizens wouldn't be visiting their doctors every week, they'd be reporting to a taxidermist once, at age 40.
Listeners responding to the CBC-Radio documentary titled "Don't Act Your age" claimed it was immoral for people to falsify their age in order to get a discount on a movie ticket. Perhaps, but you know what is really immoral? Charging $10 for a tub of popcorn that costs at the most, 20 cents work of kernels to make.
Some listeners thought faking your age for the movie discount was a matter of theft - taking money you are not entitled to. Maybe, but if you want to see theft at the movies rent Inglorious Bastards keeping in mind Brad Pitt made millions impersonating a military statue.
So the issue of seniors scamming unwarranted price cuts at movie theatres - "What we have here is a failure to communicate" - is a multi-generational gap. The kids can't tell a 50-year-old wearing reading glasses from a genuine 65-year-old senior who actually needs them.
Here then are sure ways in which cinema staff can verify that the person they're giving a discount to, is in fact a senior citizen.
. You know the man's a senior if instead of asking you what the movie's about, he requests a floor plan of the theatre with the washrooms highlighted in yellow.
. You know the woman's a senior if you correctly guess her age and she whacks you in the head with her purse.
. You know the man's a senior if you ask him for I.D. and he hands you his membership card to ListenUP! Free Battery Club.
. You know the woman's a senior if she has more than a pound of balled up Kleenex in her coat pocket.
. You know the man's a senior if you ask how old he is and in turn, he asks his wife how old he is.
. You know the woman's a senior if she takes six minutes to fish a ten dollar bill out of her wallet and accidentally shows you photos of the grandkids.
. You know the man's a senior if you recognize him as your next door neighbour and he tells you to stay the hell off of his lawn.
. You know the woman's a senior if when the theatre lights go down, she claps her hands to get them back on.
. You know the man's a senior if you ask him for photo I.D. and he hands you a driver's license that lapsed in 1994.
. You know the woman's a senior if you ask her why she's twiddling her thumbs and she tells you it's part of her 30-minute power pack workout.
. You know the man's a senior citizen if he's still got the blood pressure test tube wrapped around his arm and there's a nozzle from the gas pumps sticking out of his pocket.
. You know the woman's a senior if she's wearing her reading glasses on her head and using a magnifying glass to examine the ticket stub.
. You know the man's a senior if you mention the fact he's not wearing pants and his response is: "I don't give a damn!"
. You know they're both seniors if after receiving their discounted tickets they get distracted and leave the theatre.
. You know they're both seniors if they walk in wearing 3-D cataract sunglasses.
. You know they're both seniors and married if she uses that big ball of Kleenex to take care of his dripping nose.