Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
First Monday of the month
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 12 Jan 2007, p. 7

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There are rites of passage that come with certain birthdays, and they all have varying degrees of impact as we cross those milestones. Some are more memorable than others, while others are totally lost without so much as a whimper of recollection. I'll never forget when I turned 21-- leading up to that birthday was special. (In those days, turning 21 meant one could legally partake of the forbidden nectar of the brewery gods.) Only one problem with my 21st birthday-- the powers that be changed the age of majority to 18-- two weeks before my 21st birthday!!! Okay, it took me a couple decades to get over that one-- and I haven't voted Tory since. But other milestones have been better experiences. I took turning 30 without a thought, 40 was a time to take stock of my four decades, and 50 I didn't even recognize. Then there was 55. Last June I hit that milestone, you know, the one the TV commercials say we should have a certain freedom at. Haven't found that one yet-- I'm still looking. But this week, a full seven months after turning 55, I was at a local store, buying some Tylenol (Oh yeah, that's another bonus of turning 55-- it's called muscle and joint aches and pains.) I walked to the cashier, I set my purchase on the counter (it was even on sale) and the cashier scanned the little bar code. "Do you mind if I ask if you are 55 or over?" she asked cautiously. "Not in the least," I replied, "I'm 55 years old. Why do you ask?" "Oh, well that's terrific! You qualify for our seniors' discount. It's on the first Monday of the month, and you can have a discount on your purchase." I was in seventh heaven! I got something for less cuz I'm old? It was great! Okay it was great for a minute or so-- then as I walked back to the office, it occurred to me the ramifications of this newest milestone. If I accept the discount, does that mean I'm accepting I'm a senior too? I don't feel like a senior. But I must look like one (hence the cashier asking me if I was 55). And I am a grandfather, so I guess that does lean me in the direction of a senior. But I like to think my attitude is similar to what it was when I was about 24 (you know, three years after the government changed the legal age to 18 TWO WEEKS before my 21st birthday-- but I'm not bitter...) And I'm still searching for that Freedom 55 thing (I only have five more months left of this age to find it, so I'm not holding my breath.) So, I'm adopting a completely new attitude. Unlike Alice Cooper who sang "I'm 18, and I like it!" I'm leaning towards singing "I'm 55, and I want my discount!" By the way, Alice Cooper will be 59 in February, so he might even agree with me, and do a re-release of his song. I know I'm not alone in this situation. There are loads of `55ers' out there, and we might as well take advantage of a discount if the big retailers wanna feel good about giving it to us. So all you fellow 55ers out there, synchronize your watches-- first Monday of the month, we're going in! (Ted Brown can be reached at tbrown@independentfreepress.com)

Brown, Ted
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12 Jan 2007
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First Monday of the month