This is not a rhetorical question I ask of myself since I know the answer (or know what I’ve been told: I was there, but not up to understand what a year was, or anything else, for that matter); nor is it a solipsistic request for information (not under the Freedom of Information or any other Act.). Instead, it was a question I was asked by a political pollster yesterday as part of a political poll about my preferences in the upcoming gubernatorial race in Virginia. (I like the word “gubernatorial,” don’t you? It’s fun to say and a challenge to spell. I got it right the first time, but don’t try the same thing at home, boys and girls—I’m a professional!)
Anyhow, I don’t normally answer calls from people I don’t recognize on the caller ID (one of the great inventions of all time, as far as I’m concerned. You can ignore people you don’t want to talk to and greet people using their name which is impressive unless it’s a husband using his wife’s line or vice-verse. Then it’s just confusing or embarrassing), but in this case I took a chance and found it was a nice young man wanting to know my opinions on the race. What I have plenty of is opinions, so I filled his ear with them, which seemed to make him happy. I had guessed right. If a pollster is calling from the party opposite the one you support, it results in an argument or a very short call. I prefer the latter.
So, as the nice young man was closing his survey out, he asked me, “What year were you born in?”
I wouldn’t have minded telling him how old I was (I’m 65), but it occurred to me that this was a way to find out someone’s age without actually asking them since many people take umbrage (and probably sackage and sockage and tollage and other forms of offense) to being asked directly. I had to smile at the cleverness of this approach to a bit of data that has to be pried out of some people. It’s anyone’s right not to reveal his or her age. I supposed I could have answered, “Long ago in a galaxy far way,” but that’s only true in my imagination. And I did like the young man, so I was glad to surrender my secret. I’ve been eligible for Medicare for some months now and it’s a good time! I hope more people get to experience it!