Can you remember the first time someone called you ma’am or sir? Did it make you feel old?
I think I was 18 when someone called me sir for the first time. It caught me totally off guard. I can remember sticking my chest out like some rough and tough rooster sporting around with my whisper thin mustache. I remember thinking it was cool having someone call me sir.
I began to think to myself, have I finally grown up or gotten old? Like a bolt of lightning it hit me, people with manners and proper upbringings will usually reply with sir, ma’am, young man or young lady. I suddenly remembered the proper raising I received from my parents and the importance they had instilled in me to be respectful. They had always told me to use yes sir and yes ma’am or else. And trust me, I knew exactly what the or else was and I didn’t want any of it.
Well, it must have worked, because I’ve been using yes sir and yes ma’am my whole life. I constantly reply to people with Mr. or Mrs., yes sir and no ma’am. The only problem is, most everybody I respond to with Mr. or Mrs. ask me to please just call them by their first name because it makes them feel old.
I do have one big question, when are we officially old? And to you young dudes who call me old. You might just be right. I now find myself saying the very same things my parents said when I was a kid. The very things I rolled my eyes at as a kid are now a big part of my daily vocabulary and fond memories.
You know, things like, when I was a kid we use to walk nine miles in the snow, sleet and rain to get to school, you don’t know what work is, close that door, I’m not trying to heat the world, were you raised in a barn, money doesn’t grow on trees and so on. That sure does bring back fond memories.
And now that I’m older, I sure am glad I listened to the so-called old folks. There is still one problem though … what’s up with the black socks and sandals look? No matter how old I get, please, please never let me wear black socks and sandals together in public.
But seriously, getting older does have its advantages. It brings on discounted meals, road trips, not having to work unless you want to, sleeping in or staying up late, getting away with lots of stuff because people you are so precious and having lots of people love and adore you because you are soooooo cute and sweet. I’m not a rocket scientist, but that sounds cool to me.
Now you know that getting older is an honor. We must never forget the wonderful treasure and wealth of knowledge that our so-called older citizens have to offer. So please honor them, love them, respect them and learn from them … except for the black socks and sandals.
In closing, go so called old folks go! You just get better with time.
Kenny Martin is the City Manager/Economic Development for the City of Mt. Juliet.