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Cannon: How old are you, anyway?

By Ann Cannon

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jan 17 2013 05:36 pm • Last Updated May 05 2013 11:33 pm

When we first moved into this neighborhood 25 years ago, we had a lovely elderly neighbor who used to ride the bus downtown so she could pay her bills in person — she didn’t trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver — and I remember thinking at the time that as lovely as our neighbor was, I didn’t want to turn into her.

Well, guess what. I don’t go downtown to pay my bills. But I regularly ride today’s equivalent of that bus, because (as my adult children are fond of pointing out) I’m old now. And if one of the following behaviors describes you, then you’re possibly old, too.

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You still memorize phone numbers » Perhaps you do this out of habit. Or perhaps you don’t know how to input numbers in your cellphone. Who cares? At least you won’t find yourself in the position of my young friend who needed to call his wife but didn’t know her number because he didn’t have his cell phone with him.

And speaking of cell­-phones …

You don’t always carry your cellphone around » Or if you do, it might not be turned on. The downside here is that people can’t reach you. Immediately. Like they want to. And this frustrates them. On the bright side, you’re not always pulling out your phone to text or check your email. A lot of people, it seems to me, have unhealthy relationship with their smartphones these days. They’re like those totally annoying couples you used to see in the high school halls, making out and so forth in front of the rest of us who wanted to shout, "Get a room!"

And speaking some more of phones …

You sometimes use the phone book to look up stuff » And why not? Especially if it’s just sitting right in front of you there on the kitchen counter. Thumbing through paper can be faster than navigating your way through data on your phone.

And speaking of paper …


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You still like to read actual books » Sure, e-readers are convenient, especially when you travel. But for many people print on paper will never be dead.

And speaking of other things that aren’t totally dead …

You still buy actual CDs » Come on, guys! Somebody has to! Otherwise those poor little CDs just sit there on the shelves at Smith’s Marketplace, feeling like the kid who never gets chosen to play kickball at recess. Not that I’m bitter.

Buying a CD is not the same thing as buying an album, which plenty of people do. Vinyl is cool. CDs? Not so much. But I still buy the occasional CD — "Brothers" by the Black Keys was my last purchase. Good times!

You still watch TV in real time » Yes. You know how to use the digital video recorder. In fact, you use it whenever you work late. Still, it’s fun to look forward to watching your programs on a given night. And the fact that you even use the word "programs" is more proof that you are totally riding shotgun on the Seniors Fun Bus.

("How can you stand the commercials?" my kids ask, and I say that sometimes the commercials are the best part — like the one where that dorky guy fantasizes about riding a motorcycle shirtless with a hot girl who shoots flaming arrows into the air.)

And even though you watch TV in real time …

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