The Old Coot wants to know

I always thought my life would be less frustrating if everyone wore a nametag. Then I wouldn’t have to fake it, pretend I knew who the person was. Like a lot of old coots, I call people by fake monikers like: Governor, Missy, Buddy, while scrambling through my rusty memory files in a desperate attempt to dig their name out of the cobwebs. It never comes to me until five minutes after they leave. Sometimes not for a day or more.

People won’t wear name tags, except at a business conference or similar event where attendees don’t know each other. The only name tags they will wear are those of clothing designers, corporate logos or sports teams: Ralph Lauren, Chaps, Tom Brady, Nike, Buffalo Bills and the like. But sport their name, no way! 

That “no way” attitude is even more in play with my second ID suggestion, an “Age Tag”. Either with a person’s age or with the year they were born, making us do the math if we want to know how old they are.

Most of us are curious about other people’s age. I’m constantly going online to look up someone famous enough to be listed on Google or Wikipedia. It’s so much easier than in the old days, digging into World Almanacs, encyclopedias, or calling the library. 

All the people I’m around have the same curiosity that I do. And, many of them are not old coots; they’re people of all ages. Someone will walk into wherever we are “hanging out” and invariably one of us will ask, “How old do you think that guy is?” We try to figure it out. “I think he’s in his fifties. He looks younger, but I guess he’s made it out of his forties. I’ll ask my sister; she knows him.”

That sort of conversation. And it might stop some embarrassing Old Coot utterances – “Is that your daughter or your wife?” – “Are you sisters or mother and daughter?”

We’re a curious species. We want to know things. Especially everyone’s age. We’d also like to know how much they earn or what they’re worth. I guess that’s too much to ask for. I’ll settle for an age tag. It would be a boon to society. Don’t you agree? 

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