Today we received a laughable phone call at work. Let me set this up a bit: I’m working for H&R Block, doing taxes for individuals. Now HRB has policies about using their name in social media, so out of respect for those policies, that’s all you’ll hear me say about the company.
Anyway, the call was from a man wondering if he could claim his “elderly” mother on his taxes (the answer is yes under specific circumstances). How old is this elderly woman? Sixty-four.
That’s not even retirement age!
Now his mother could be frail or disabled, and he’s taking care of her financially and otherwise, so I’ll cut him some slack. The reality for me is, my mom and some of my friends are in their 80s and the last word I’d use to describe them is “elderly.”
Where would we be without generational differences? I recently saw an episode of a favorite series of mine, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” in which Rob is trying to set up his older, but spry, uncle, with a “mature” lady. The woman he ultimately comes up with barely looks older than the two younger couples to me. I wonder if the writers of that show (yes, some are still alive) roll their eyes now at what they perceived to be mature.
Well, if they even pay attention to the work they did fifty-plus years ago.
Old age for pets comes a lot earlier, and I’m reminded of the time shortly after my cat Paco died. He was sixteen, a good long age for a cat. But when I told an eight-year-old friend of mine how old Paco had been, Gavin grew alarmed.
“He was only sixteen?” he said. He started to cry.
“Oh Gavin,” I said. “That’s old for a cat.”
Gavin clearly was not convinced, so I told his mom about it in case she wanted to talk to him further. She told me he hadn’t yet comprehended life expectancy for different mammals, and it was a point of confusion.
At the age of eight, I think I believed sixteen was the height of womanhood. I give Gavin credit at having a more realistic perspective.
Perspective is everything when it comes to age.
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