This is not a DST story. It is a turn back time story though. Sort of.
A story came to my attention last week that I just couldn’t ignore. Along the lines of the breastfed six-year old post I did a few years ago, or the posts I’ve done more recently on fake news — what to believe — it seemed well-suited to And So It Goes.
A 69-year-old Dutchman, Emile Ratelband, felt his age was working against him on an online dating site. So, he went to court there in The Netherlands to have his age lowered by 20 years, legally.
Imagine that! I didn’t know about his case while it was going on last year, nor did I know how the court ruled until I was writing this post and looked it up (patience; we’ll get there).
I first heard of it through Ronni Bennet’s long time blog, Time Goes By (What it’s really like to get old). Ronni had linked to an article on AEON.co by Joona Räsänen, a bioethicist at the University of Oslo in Norway, entitled Why older people should be allowed to change their legal age. The title pretty much sums up his feelings.
I won’t repeat his argument here. I’ve linked to it if you are interested. He presents a ______ (fill in your own adjective) argument. Suggestions include compelling, absurd, legitimate, provocative, ridiculous. Or, you can suggest your own.
Ageism is, of course, a serious issue. It’s not only unfair, it’s often unconscious as this Dilbert comic shows us.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. There are many people around the world as well as right here in the USA, who turn to the courts for protection from societal unfairness. They want to live authentically, openly, freely. I heartily support them.
This case from the now 70-year-old Dutchman is not that. His is a case of someone who wants to lie legally. He was born 70 years ago; he wants to claim to be 50. Beyond the dramatic moment when his date finds out the truth, I got thinking about what I might change about myself, legally, if I could.
I mean we all like to profess an acceptance of ourselves as we “truly” are — our authentic self. And most of us are fortunate enough to be born into a community that accepts us as we are. But, if given the opportunity to change some part of the hand your were dealt, would you take it?
I’d like to be taller. Taller people are taken more seriously, you know; they have more stature.
I enjoyed that, too.
Three inches would be enough, thank you. I’d like to be able to reach the pie plates I store in the cabinet over the microwave without having to ask Woody to get them down for me. Or having to go into the other room and get the step stool when he’s not home. Yes, if I were three inches taller, my life would be easier, as would Woody’s. At least it would once or twice a year when I actually bake a pie.
One of the many great aspects of my living in Kazakhstan was that, for a time, my 64″ made me a tall person, which I enjoyed. I’ll be 64″ no matter what country I stand in, and poor Emile Ratelband will be 70 years old, no matter what dating site he frequents (this year, anyway). Here’s the BBC coverage of the court’s finding.
How about you? What would you change (legally) if you could? Has ageism been an issue for you at any point? Are you living your authentic self?
NEXT WEEK: LEAPFROG lands.