I have always seemed to look a little older than I am. Not sure why, but it didn’t hurt when I was a little below the legal age to get into an “R” rated movie or trying to get an adult beverage. Lately, though I have had a couple of instances that have me wondering if I should get some of that “Gray Be Gone” stuff at the drug store.
Many years ago when I was doing some construction engineering on an infrastructure project, the conversation turned to birthdays while the construction crew was eating lunch near the work site. One of the crew member’s birthday was that day and he was telling everyone about his plans for the evening. They sounded like fun and I just listened to see if he had any ideas I might want to try some time. The owner of the company out of the blue looked at me and asked how old I was. At that time I was 25. I had been out of college and working for a few years. I told him my age and he looked a little shocked. He looked at me and said that I must have had a hard life. After the laughter died down, I grinned and went back to my sandwich. I thought about rejecting a whole bunch of his work from that day, but thought better of it and just went on about my business.
It never was much of an issue for a number of years, but lately I seem to be miscategorized more than usual. I was at a meeting recently and was chatting with some folks when one of the guys made a comment about someone that was (as he put it) “our age”. Well, I know how old I am and how old he is and we are about 15 years apart. I guess that gap means less and less as the age climbs.
It really hit home a couple of weeks ago. I was in Wisconsin at a social event. I was at a table with a really nice young couple who were going to be married shortly after this event. They were just a lot of fun to get to know and I think they were really meant for each other. The young lady asked me where I went to college and I told her I attended Michigan Tech from 1977 to 1981 and graduated with bachelor’s degree. Her next question almost made me laugh out loud. She looked at me with the most innocent look and asked, “Did MTU have that Ice Carnival thing way back then?” I couldn’t help but chuckle.
What she was referring to is the multi-day event known as “Winter Carnival.” It has been going on at MTU since 1922. It is a fun event that attracts people from all over the country who attend to see some of the ice sculptures and take part in the fun. I assured the young lady that it was going on while I was attending MTU and added even though it was a couple of years before the campus had running water. She nodded and I could see she filed that little bit of info away for another time.
I know she didn’t mean anything bad by her question, but when dinner was over, I glanced around to make sure I didn’t leave my cane. That “Gray Be Gone” may not be such a bad idea.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.