Sunday, August 29, 2010

Was I just insulted?

I glanced at the bill for the oil change. It was $10 cheaper than the stated price.
Even before I could wrestle with my conscience over the fact that I had been undercharged, the nice young man confirmed my bill total, "with the senior discount."
At first I wasn't sure I heard him correctly due to my poor hearing, which is not because I am a senior, because I am not, but because I had multiple ear infections as a child which was not 65 years ago.

"Senior discount?" I asked, my voice only wavering a little.
"10% off for old fogies like yourself," he said smiling. Or that is what my tortured mind heard.
"Just how old do you have to be to get this so called senior discount?!" I cackled.
He smiled politely, the way the waitresses do when I ask why they don't want to see my ID when I order a glass of wine with dinner.
I am not sure I am seeing the glass half full on this one
"Do I have to accept this "senior" discount?" I asked.
He looked confused, "Well, are you saying you want to pay extra?"
"No, I am saying I want the discount for 'hot, aging beautifully, fit and trim just past the bloom of youth people.' "
"Let me see if we have one of those to offer, " he said doubtfully.
"If you don't offer that discount, I may have to take my business elsewhere."
His co-worker behind the desk leaned over and whispered, "Sometimes there are mood swings in these seniors.... be careful."
"Look, m'am," he said, "The best I can offer on our list of available discounts is 'good effort aging with grace', but it is only 5% off.
"I'll take it," I grumbled, "If it is the best you can do. How old are you anyway? Isn't it naptime for kids your age?"

OK, that is not quite how it went down, but I was honestly given the senior discount without being asked my age. Maybe the discount starts at age 50, or maybe the guy could just tell we needed the financial break. I don't know, but it was not as delightful a moment of frugality as one might expect. Do I really look like a senior? Somehow I keep hoping that what I see in the mirror is just the result of fluorescent lighting.

God reminds me over and over again that He honors gray hair and wrinkles. He coaxes me to remember that physical beauty is fleeting (boy is it ever!) but character can grow more beautiful with every passing year. With age comes wisdom, and a growing disenchantment with the superficial pursuits of youth, to the deeper more eternal hopes and goals of the aged.
At least, that is what is supposed to happen. And it does happen when the focus is forced to shift from physical strength and loveliness to spiritual character which never dies, but is only transformed.

"I have an idea," I told the mechanic behind the counter, "I will accept the discount if you put a little asterisk beside the senior label there. Just call it ' walking a long time with Jesus'.
The discount on that adds up to eternal savings," I added.

Proverbs 16:31 (New International Version)

31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained by a righteous life.


  1. I don't know Vicky--you have aged better than more 40 somethings....and a lot of my 30 something impoverished patients! And a discount--way to save for those unexpected upcoming wedding expenses!

    I don't think Ms. Clairol and I will part ways until I am past 75--you see, salt and pepper hair is very nice....gray speckled strawberry blonde, not so much!


  2. Being a senior has its advantages. Expectations have been lowered, so when we rise to the occasion above adequacy, it's viewed as brilliance. If you've got 7 1/2 minutes, watch the beautiful and truly brilliant Mary Maxwell at Warning for senior ladies: Since weak bladders are a common affliction for the aged, beware of the sudden eruption of laughter (and other things).

  3. Yes, I always hope they will ask me id at the wine store.

  4. i love all the comments. Thank you ladies.

  5. Oh the irony of reading this on our way to church . . . just after passing you in the neighborhood on your morning run. You looked beautiful, fit and fabulous in your snazzy black running ensemble!

  6. Distance viewing is my friend.... but thanks Carolyn. that was a sweet comment.