Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 11.25.04
Quebec City


No senior citizen, me

Reading the paper the other day I noticed no fewer than three articles dedicated to boomer angst at aging.

One admonished us to not give up at forty. Which is far too late for me anyway.

A second asked the question "What do I need for my 60th birthday?" which is rushing things a bit.

The third suggested we should not be called boomers but "zoomers!"

Enough already!

By the time I finished reading I felt like John Hurt in The Elephant Man except instead of yelling "I am not an animal" I wanted to scream "I am not a senior!"

What is the great rush?

Not only do we want to make sure our children all speak six languages by the time they are four and play the violin when they're not doing quadratic equations but we want to push perfectly healthy, active adults into their dotage at the first sign of a grey hair.

It wasn't always this way.

Once upon a time, people worked until they were 65, retired, and played with their grandchildren.

Then some marketing type came up with the bright idea to cut the prices for all the items nobody wanted anyway and call it a seniors' discount.

It didn't take long for those in charge of conspicuous consumption to realize if we were senile enough to buy it at 60, why not lower the bar to 55.

I'm sure they reasoned that by the time they realize it the old fogies will have maxed out their credit cards anyway.

In my case, when She Who Must Be Obeyed found out she promptly signed me up as a member of CARP - the Canadian Association for Retired People.

I myself had refused to join the group on the Marxist grounds - Groucho that is - that I wouldn't belong to any organization that would have me as a member.

There are good reasons, I argued, that I don't and won't consider myself a senior.

Some of my hair is still brown. I still have most of my original teeth. Most nights I don't have to get up to visit the facilities. I hate young women calling me sir. And I still have dreams featuring Angelina Jolie.

Admittedly, a young man recently offered me his seat on the bus but I put it down to his obviously poor vision.

Take it from me, when it comes to old age I'm with the late businessman, millionaire, and philanthropist, Bernard Baruch, who put it this way.

"To me old age is always fifteen years older than I am."