New Wrinkles

You wake up one day and realize you’re ten years older than you were the previous night. Beyond the initial shock, how does this development change your life plans?


This notion encompasses a vast area. There are stations in life where an extra decade might be beneficial.

I knew a person working as a locomotive electrician for the Southern Pacific. He hired on with a full beard, causing him to appear older than his mid-20s. When there was an expensive solution for repairing a broken train – bad fraction motors, defective dynamic braking system, erratic controls – they seldom questioned his diagnosis. However, a year down the road he shaved off his beard. The reaction to his troubleshooting became conversely proportional to his apparent age. Almost always management dispatched another electrician for a second opinion. Four months later, when his beard began filling in, they regained confidence in him.

There are other instances where another decade would not be beneficial.

A jet fighter pilot, having awakened a decade older, might find himself automatically culled from the gaggle.

A quarterback for the San Francisco Forty-Niners could start warming the bench, or coaching.

Someone about to purchase a life insurance policy would not be delighted the premium.

A combat veteran might not be able to stay alive.

However, politicians, corporate CEOs, and used car salespeople would hardly feel the effects of aging.

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