IT'S THE PITTS -- THE AWKWARD AGE

by: Lee Pitts

We spend our whole lives wanting to be older than we are. This desire to age more rapidly effects people of all ages. When you are just five years of age the "American Dream" is to be 12. After attaining that lofty perch your next goal is to be 18, then 21, etc. The only people who don't want to be older are women approaching the second anniversary of their 39th birthday.     

People barely out of their thirties, with jobs they hate, dream of becoming 65 so they can quit working and enjoy their golden years. Even though the gold may have tarnished to rust by then. There are a few advantages of growing old. At age 55 you can eat cheaper in restaurants, even though by then you may not have the teeth or the stomach for it.

The first time that I can remember wanting to be older was standing in line at Disneyland. After waiting in line for half an hour the sign at one of the more enjoyable rides read; "Must be twelve years of age or at least this tall." The sign towered above me. I was temporarily satisfied when I reached the grand old age of eight and could finally play Little League but then I wanted to be 12 and play in the Babe Ruth League. It seemed to me that once you reached the age of 12 that was about all you could ever hope to accomplish in life.

When you are young there are clearly established goals in life. At sixteen you can drive, at 17 you can go to dirty movies without your folks and at 18 you can vote and stare in wonder at Playboy Magazines without sneaking around about it. At 21 the whole wide world opens up. You can legally drink, gamble, and throw away the acne medicine. What more to life could there possibly be? After turning 21 about the only thing to look forward to for awhile is turning 25 when your car insurance finally costs less than your yearly income.

Once you reach middle age you realize there were many advantages to being young and perhaps you shouldn't have rushed through those years quite so fast. This will probably dawn on you when you take your young children to see a movie. You are actually jealous of your eight year old because your seat cost $8.50 while hers cost only $4.50. And she took up the same one chair space as you!

Even the government discriminates against the older and more experienced. First time home buyers can now get a big tax deduction for buying a $200,000 house that you paid $500,000 for when you were younger and out of your mind.

In the never-never-land between the ages of 30 and 55 you pay full price for everything. You are too young to qualify for the cheap cup of coffee for senior citizens at Ronald McDonald's and too old to play in his playground. It truly is the dark hole of life. You face the same two options that you did as a child: You can be patient and wait for senior citizenship when the perks start up again or you can lie about your age. Until then you must pay double for a pass to Water World and you can't order off the senior citizens menu at Denny's.

It's nice that kids can get half-off and that senior citizens can buy their dinner cheaper than you but is there a group of people in this country who could use a good deal any more than the middle aged parent who is paying full price for child support, braces, college educations and a mortgage? Now there's a group of people that really does deserve a break today.

www.LeePittsbooks.com







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