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On Acting Old

October 12, 2010

In weeding out some files and piles this past weekend, I came across an article from the July/August 2009 issue of MORE magazine entitled “How Not to Act Old”, an excerpt from a book of the same name by Pamela Redmond Satran. Admitting I read a magazine aimed at women over 40 is probably not the best way to start not acting old, but nonetheless let’s see how I’m doing.

1. Unstrap That Rolex
Not that I ever had a Rolex, but yes, I’ve pretty much stopped wearing any of my watches, which is sort of sad, since I have quite a few that I like. I didn’t give them up because I wanted to check the time on my phone like the young folks do, but because I found keyboarding (is that still what the kids call what I learned in typing class?) all day at work with a watch on irritated my repetitive motion issues. Score +1 for acting young.

2. Don’t Spout Any History
I do try to avoid being the person at the office that reminisces about how much better things were in the old days (in part because in some cases they weren’t—wondering if we’re going to make payroll is not my idea of good time), but no way am I going to give up nostalgia and reminiscing and sharing stuff I’ve found in old magazines. History provides context; history provides entertainment. Score +1 for acting old.

3. Avoid Direct Confrontation
I do avoid confrontation whenever possible, though I’m not convinced that’s a good thing. Score +1 for acting young (though I suspect it’s more being a wimp on my part).

4. Don’t Leave a Message
Since I am not a fan on the phone and avoid calling people whenever possible, I have limited opportunities to not leave messages. Sometimes I do leave them, and sometimes I do not. Score: 0 either way.

5. Don’t Cook a Roast
I don’t recall ever cooking a roast. We didn’t even have a roasting pan when visiting relatives wanted to cook one for us (that was some years ago and now we do have a big pan that we cooked a turkey in the one year we cooked a big turkey). Score +1 for acting young.

6. Don’t Fear the Waxer
Given that anyone who sees me without pants on either already knows how old I am or can likely make a pretty good guess based on the lack of perkiness of other attributes, I think this point is pretty irrelevant. Still, I do fear the waxer. Score +1 for acting old.

7. Don’t Arrive at the Crack of Dawn
No problem. I would gladly come in even later it didn’t mean missing evenings with Mr. Karen. Score +1 for acting young.

8. Don’t Bring the Doughnuts
I have brought treats to the office on occasion, but I’m far from being the Mommy at work. Score +1 for acting young (or maybe just cranky).

9. Don’t Punch the Clock
Given that there’s a weekly e-mail showing who worked how many hours, I feel I sorta kinda have to keep an eye on the clock. Score +1 for acting old.

10. Stifle the Self-aggrandizing Anecdotes
Done. Score +1 for acting young.

11. Don’t Be Tough
See #3. Score +1 for acting young (and being wimpy).

12. Don’t Stay Glued to Your Chair
But the chair is where I do my work and write journal entries and look at LOLcats. Why would I get up any more than necessary? Score +1 for acting old, I guess.

13. Don’t Do Long-Range Planning
Guilty. And unrepentant. Score +1 for acting old.

14. Don’t Be a Human Archive
The older I get, the less I remember, so I expect this will take care of itself eventually. Score: 0.

15. No Lame Parenting Advice
Having never been a parent, I am almost never tempted to advise people on raising their children. Score +1 for acting young.

16. Don’t Be the Ricky
I think Mr. Karen would say I’m the Lucy, what with the way I sometimes don’t record the DirectTV debit in my check register on or before the day it happens. Score +1 for acting young (though I feel maybe I should subtract a point for acting irresponsible).

17. Don’t Block the Aisle
I don’t think I do, but if I did, would I notice people having to weave around me? I’m not so sure. Score: 0.

18. Type with Your Thumbs
I do on my new-ish cell phone, but when I dial the desk phone I use other fingers. Score: 0.

19. Don’t Yell into Your Cell
See #4. Since I call people as little as possible, I rarely even have the chance the yell, but I don’t think I do. I anything I talk too softly and get asked to repeat myself. Score +1 for acting young.

20. Don’t Fear the Teenager
I don’t fear them; I just don’t interact with all that many. Score: 0.

21. Cancel the Trip to Provence
Provence isn’t on my list, but I do plan to return to Paris. Is that old or timeless? Score: 0, to be on the safe side.

Final score: 10 Young, 5 Old, 6 Neither. I guess I’m not acting old, then. I probably could have guessed that from the first question, since most often when I want the time and am not in front of a computer, I consult my trusty Pikachu pedometer, though I suppose that falls under “acting like a child”, which is perhaps too far in the opposite direction.

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