Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Privileged Class

It was my 55th birthday and I wanted to be carded. We were on the road. So we went to Cracker Barrel. That seemed like the kind of interstate highway chain that would offer senior discounts.

But they didn’t and thus I missed my once-in a-lifetime chance to celebrate my first day as a member of the privileged class. I told the waitress of my disappointment so she took pity and gave me a free brownie with whipped cream and a candle stuck in it for my birthday.

That was a year ago and so far this senior discount stuff has been a huge bust. I think I’ve saved about $6. Senior discounts are more like consolation prizes. They’re society’s why of saying, “Look, we’re sorry we can’t do anything to halt the mercilessly relentless pace of the passage of time and the process of decay, but we can offer you 10 per cent off on the breaded veal cutlet special between 2:30 and 4:30 on Wednesdays.” It’s not much of a trade but you take it anyway because you can either resign yourself to the inevitability of decline and decay and pay full price for breaded veal cutlet to boot, or not.

Humans don’t look forward to turning 55 the same way we look forward to turning 21. There’s no market for age 55 fake IDs. So far, I’ve never been approached outside a restaurant by a 40 year old who said, “Psssst. Hey buddy, can you help a brother out? Can you go in and order me a breaded veal cutlet for 10 per cent off? I could do it myself because I’m old enough. Really I am! But I lost my ID.”

They don’t offer senior discounts on stuff that costs a lot, like gas or an appendectomy. If that was the case then we’d be talking some real money and senior discounts might be something to get excited about. There ought to be a law making senior discounts mandatory on everything. Because with the way some republicans are trying to fuck with Medicare and Medicaid, that may be the only way to get by. And the discounts ought to be escalating. The older you get the bigger the discounts get, so like if you’re 110 and you order breaded veal cutlet the restaurant pays you. It’s only fair!

But I’m sure someone will challenge that. It’s the ones who always cry about reverse discrimination that will be the first to object. They particularly resent people like me because I’m a privileged character squared. I get senior discounts on top of all my cripple discounts. Cripples get stuff like free parking and tax breaks. But why should we get special privileges just because we’re crippled, they ask? Everything we get they should get, too. They envy and covet everything that comes with the cripple lifestyle, except the part about being crippled.

So I won’t be surprised if they mount a Supreme Court challenge to the Constitutionality of senior discounts. They’ll do it in the name of their ancestors, who were brought to this country from across the ocean and forced to pay full price for breaded veal cutlet. It will begin with protests. A young, white man will enter a restaurant, order breaded veal cutlet and demand 10 per cent off. He’ll be rejected and ejected. But, inspired by the lunch counter protests of the civil rights era, the protestors will keep coming in waves. Another will enter and order breaded veal cutlet and so on. And then another. And then another.

When the Supreme Court strikes down senior discounts, these freedom fighters will dedicate themselves to wiping out all the unfair advantages bestowed upon the privileged class. Next, they’ll go to the movies and demand to pay the same ticket price as an 11 year old.