An Old Coot is how old?

I was in the Owego Kitchen the other morning, as usual. A young mother at a table near me had a toddler with her. I asked how old he was. “He’s 27 months,” she replied. 

I couldn’t figure out what 27 months meant. I had to convert it to something I could relate to. I said, “Oh, he’s a little over two.” 

I wish parents of young children would use terms the rest of us could understand. I bet they would be confused if us old coots used months to measure our age. I wonder what the mother of a 27-month-old toddler would say if I told her I was 941 months. Would she have any idea what that meant? Not without a calculator. 

I blame it on the pediatricians. They track a baby’s progress using their age in weeks. Eventually, they switch to months, sometime after the one-year mark. Parents seem to stick with the monthly system; the rest of us have to do the math to figure out how their kid is. 

They don’t make the transition to years soon enough. I suggest they adopt a conversion table to communicate with the rest of us. For the first couple of months go ahead and use the weeks measure for visits to the doctor and convert it to months for the rest of us. After the first year, stop using the month measurement, start using half years or approaches to a new birthday, such as, “He’s two and one half.” Or, “He’ll be three in October.” 

You can use years and half years until age seven. Then drop the halves. At age 12 you should start lying about his age; keep him12 for as long as you can. Just say he’s big for his age. It gets him in the theatre at half price and cheaper meals in restaurants (he can order from the children’s menu. I do that, or try to, but that’s an issue for another day). After that era, you have no control. He’ll do the lying all by himself. At 16 he’ll say he’s 18 to get into R-rated movies. At 19 he’ll swear he’s 21, to buy a beer at college. When he’s 40 he’ll lie in the other direction and claim that he’s in his late 30’s. 

When he turns 50, and gets used to it, gets over the shock of being half a century old, he might start lying in the other direction. Add a year or two to his age to get a feel for what’s to come. When someone (usually a liar) says, “Oh you don’t look that old.” He can fess up, “Well, I’m really not, but I will be in October next year.” It’s what us old coots do to prepare for the upcoming fireball on our birthday cake. Eventually he’ll slide into the old coot age. 

For me it was when I turned 62 and signed up for social security. We shift to a new measurement system, using decades and scores. It’s payback time; from the times we had to figure out how old a kid was when we were told 27 months. I’m three score, a decade and a half, plus a few years right now. When I’m four-score I’m going to buy myself an old Jeep Wrangler, to celebrate the milestone. I’ve had three Wranglers over the years; I miss the attitude you get when you drive one. It makes you feel like you’re one score again. 

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