How old are you? (and a book giveaway)

So, this is in response to my friend Tamara and her blog post about intolerance. Really, it’s the last section that set off this spewage of thoughts that I’m going to share with you today. Well, they’re more memories that Tamara reminded me of when she expressed that she looked like a 17-year old knocked up girl. (Of course, I agree with David…she looks 19.)

Anyway, here are some memories of people misappropriating age.

My cousin has had fairly youthful looks and voice for most of her life. She and her husband both worked until she was close to her due date with their first child. Well, there were a lot of men who flirted with her, even when she wore her wedding ring. These flirtations took on a different level when they expressed interest in the unwed-teenage-mother-to-be who was really 29 at the time. Wow! Some guys are just too…well…you know.

Speaking of being young, my sister, who I will say is beautiful, hated her age (maybe that should be present tense). Well, one day, when she was about 20-and-then-some we were at a restaurant with our parents and she ordered a drink from the bar. The waitress asked to see her idea. Now, the waitress had to be at least 22, 23. And my sister looked a few years older than this waitress (sorry Apryl, but it’s true). But my sister was sincerely complimented by this request. “I’ll gladly show you my driver’s license. Enjoy!”

And then there are two stories of my wife concerning Vegas. When we were dating, she joined me on a trip from Logan to Las Vegas to visit my brother for a disappointing 4th of July celebration (meaning no real fireworks). Well, after we got there, my brother and sister-in-law asked me into the kitchen. They wanted to eat at a nice restaurant, but one of the ones they had in mind was for only those over 21. They were both expecting me to say that Mary was 18. Mary is actually 4 months older than me and was almost 22 at the time.

A month later, I was playing at a blackjack table in Vegas. Mary and I were engaged at the time. She came up behind me and started scratching my back. The dealer looked at her and said “Are you old enough to be here?” Well, Mary’s wallet was in the car and we didn’t want to have to go get it. So I looked at him (the dealer) and said “Dude, she’s older than me.” He looked back at me and said “Man, you older than dirt!” Yeah, that one felt good. At least she didn’t get kicked out.

And let’s make things a little more fun here and how old I’m not. All through high school, when I turned in an absent-note, the people at the window where I turned it in at would begin looking in the Seniors folder for my absentee sheet. They did this my Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior year. Well, Seniors can write their own notes when they’re 18. So, the first time I did this I was given a scowl with the response “Freshman can’t write their own notes.” I laughed and said “I’ve been confused for a Senior every other year.” I pulled out my driver’s license to prove that I was 18. That lady didn’t apologize and acted like she was still right.

Going back to the pregnant cousin: There was one time when we were at Wal-Mart and she was getting some fabric for something. Well, I was with her son and he started complaining/whining/crying. So I said “Erika, your baby’s unhappy.” The woman at the counter said “Sure, when they’re good, they’re Daddy’s boy. When they’re not, they’re the Mommy’s.” My cousin laughed and said “He’s the baby’s uncle.” (we’re close enough that she refers to me as her kids’ uncle.) I laughed (mostly because I made this woman say that on purpose just to get that reaction. Yeah, I’m mean. But karma is mean.)

Soon after graduation, I tried growing a beard and mustache. One of my friends said “it makes you look 25.” I thought, eh, no biggie, I’ll shave it. On the day I shaved it off, I went with my mom somewhere. While the sales clerk was trying to get my mom to buy something, my mom said “No, I already have to explain all this to my husband.” The clerk pointed to me and said “I thought he was your husband.” Now I never minded age confusion before this, but I almost stormed out of the store (which would’ve proved I was younger than I really was.) My mom accepted the compliment and said “This is my baby. I have a daughter who’s (age left out for fear of death).” My mom was in her later 40s at the time and I was 18. What would she have thought if I had kept that beard and mustache?

So now that I’ve told some fun embarrassing stories and refrained from revealing my sister’s age and there are more stories to tell (like my dad being thought of as his father’s brother. Or my brother being thought of as our father’s brother. Or my brother being confused as his wife’s father.) Have you ever had someone do an age misconception on you? Tell me about it. If you tell me a good story, I’ll enter you into a contest that will choose a random winner for my first book giveaway.

Which book am I going to give away? It is Jim C. HinesGoblin Quest. Why am I giving away a book that’s been out a few years? Because Goblin Quest is a fantasy novel that all should read, in my arrogantly humble opinion. I wish I wrote it, it’s that good. Goblin Quest takes all the fantasy novels out there and then mocks them. And mocks them well. So leave a comment in here. The contest will close at midnight on June 23rd and I will choose and post a winner shortly thereafter. UPDATE: I will give the winner a choice between Goblin Quest or The Stepsister Scheme, both by Jim C. Hines.

Also, you can get a second entry if you follow me on Twitter. So, in your comment below, tell me your twitter name and if you are following me, you will get an extra entry.

If I get over 25 comments, I will choose one of those comments to get 3 extra entries for being my favorite. (Yes, I play favorites, deal with it.)

UPDATE: I will also give you an entry if you post a link of this contest on your blog. Please post a link to your blog in the following format: timtypes(dot)wordpress(dot)com. Also, I’ll give you an entry for retweeting this contest. So, to summarize: One entry for commenting here with a story of an age mishap. One entry for following me on twitter (leave your twitter name in the comments so I can see that you’re following me.). One entry for linking on your blog here. One entry for tweeting this contest (again, leave twitter name in comments so I can see comment tweet/retweet.) That’s four entries. Also, I will give three entries for my favorite stories if 25 real comments are in.

Note: Jim C Hines has not asked me to give away his book, nor does he know I’m giving it away. The above paragraph is truly my thoughts on his book. I think Hines is one of the more truly comical fantasy authors ever to write and he deserves more promotion for it. His newest novel: Red Hood’s Revenge, book three of the Princess Series, is coming out in a few weeks. So, until then, remember…

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.


21 Responses

  1. People always thought I was older than Gretna. Perhaps because I’m more outgoing. On a still regular occurrence people always assume I’m 4-6 years older than I actually am. I think it is due to the fact I’m married, own a house, have a kid and hang out with people 2-7 years older than myself…oh and the gray hair.

  2. When I was in my 20’s, I spent a summer teaching Sunday School to a group of mentally handicapped adults. My best friend, who is a year older than I am, came with me to collect them a few times. We were both somewhat taken aback when one of the men commented on my having brought my son with me!

    @kempisosha – following

  3. Are you kidding, you’ve met me! I’ve got so many age stories! The most recent ones being as a substitute teacher, I sometimes had to pull out my ID so the office knew I wasn’t a student trying to sneak into the student lounge. (I’m not talking just high school here. I’m talking middle school too.)

  4. My twittername is booknerdguru…and I have two stories for you. The first being that I am 23 and about ready to graduate in December from college and I still have professors that either assume I am a high school student taking college classes or that I skipped ahead several years. Campus security has pulled me over a few times and asked for my license to ensure that I do in fact have an actual driver’s license and not a permit.

    My sister contrary to me looks five years older than she is. She’s two years younger and when we were teens, we used to joke while we lived overseas, that we could just about go anywhere and do anything because she was not the one they carded and nine times out of ten, I actually had the required age.

  5. I was 25. I had 2 children. I was 4’11” (still am). A salesman came to the door to hock windows or water filtration devices or something. He asked, “Is your mom home?”
    “Probably,” I said.
    He looked understandably confused. “Can I talk to her?”
    “Just a minute. I’ll see.” I grabbed the cordless phone and pretended to dial.
    “Umm?” He looked at me like I was an idiot.
    “I’m calling to see if she’s at home and if you can talk to her.”
    “She doesn’t live here?”
    “She and my husband get along, but people need their own houses you know. Especially a family with young kids.”
    “Oh. You’re the mom.”
    I nodded.
    “And I probably blew this sale.”
    I nodded again.
    He left.
    I’m still smiling.

  6. What are you talking about – I’m only 27!

    P.S. Thanks for the complement.

    P.P.S. I have a GREAT story. I often think I look younger when I have my glasses on. One day, I was wearing my contacts and I went to the store and bought some adult beverages. I didn’t have a hat on, no glasses, and my hair was even pulled back. The gal at the register was most definitely younger than I am. She carded me. This happened two weeks ago! Woohoo! I get carded every time I go somewhere after surfing too when I have on no makeup and a baseball cap.

    P.P.P.S. You shouldn’t enter me in your contest since I’m your sister. It’s cool.

  7. I went shopping with my husband for a suit for our wedding open house, which was actually two months after the wedding (long story), and the salesman, giving me none to nice looks, asked if the suit was for his mission. Um, no.

    The first time I met my husband we were on a big group date. We went to the skating rink, where it was ladies night, so gals over 16 got in for free. The guy at the skating rink let my roommate in without checking for her ID, but he didn’t believe I was over 16. I was furious. My future husband (remember, this is the first time we’d spent any time together) drove me back to my apartment for my ID while I moaned and complained and cursed the stupid skating rink guy for the entire drive. I’m still surprised that Tracy actually wanted to date me after that.

    My twitter name is angielofthouse. I’ll go follow you and tweet the contest now.

  8. Okay, I’m game. I have more age stories than anyone should from people regularly assuming my mom is my dad’s daughter–she looks so young–to a year ago when someone thought my 13-yr-old son was my brother. My “favorites” are when people think it’s cute that a college student wrote a book. (Um, that’s a mid-30s chick who’s been writing for nearly 2 decades and 7 books, idiot.)

    But my favorite: My parents came to an event that James Dashner happened to be at–we sat at the same table. He wouldn’t shut up about how gorgeous my mom was–and how that was such a shock. Now, I know she’s beautiful. She looks young and is very pretty–and I know a good chunk of it was that she looks so young.

    But explain why the fact that MY mother is pretty is a shock? (Because I’m so . . . not?) I’ve never let James live it down.

    Also, I tweeted. So 2 entries! Go, me!

  9. Ok, I want to enter but don’t feel up to topping Sarah’s comment.

  10. Just remembered (this was probably meant to be considering I met my wife a week later but) my brother-who is 10 years younger than me wanted to introduce me to a girl he thought I would really get on with.

    So I went to meet up with him and get introduced-
    met her…
    She thought I was my his Dad, so before the conversation went anywhere else I said bye-bye.

    I wasn’t even gonna bother with that one.

  11. My husband taught high school Spanish for many years, and on occasion we would take a group of students to a Spanish-speaking country, usually sharing the tour with a group from another high school. We were on a tour bus in Mexico and our guide was having us stand and introduce ourselves, name, age, anything of interest, speaking in Spanish. I was concentrating on saying everything correctly and forgot my age, but included my husband, and that we had 4 children, and their ages. I sat down and there was a protest from the others. “How old are you?” Embarrased for forgetting, I stood again and said, “Tengo treinta y dos (32) anos,” and sat down quickly.
    “Whew,” one of the leaders of the other group said, ‘We were all wondering what this old guy was doing with a young little college student.” Everyone around him nodded, laughing.
    My husband pulled his ball cap down over his face. He’s only a year older than me.

  12. I’m just_jking on twitter.

    Back in high school I was constantly mistaken for my older sister. At her wedding I was the maid of honor and wearing pink. Her mother in law told me that I looked beautiful, but wasn’t I supposed to be wearing white? I was 15 at the time.

    Then last year, a lawn care guy came to the door. He looked at me and smiled insincerely and said:

    “Are your parents or someone who can make decisions for you at home?”

    I was 25 and the oldest person living there!

  13. On my twenty-sixth birthday, the husband and myself went to see The Silver Surfer with some friends. Twice the husband requested two adult tickets. We received and paid for one adult ticket, for him, and one child’s ticket, for me. On my twenty-sixth birthday, the ticket seller at the movie theatre thought I was thirteen–half my age!

  14. I’m going to be 32 next week, and I still get comments from people in the bookstore where I work.

    “Are you working your way through college, dear?”

    “Now, you probably won’t know a thing about this book/movie, it was *way* before you were born…”

    “Why are they making you do the heavy lifting? You’ll stunt your growth!” (Note: I’m five foot two, have been since I was fourteen.)

    Not to mention the variants on “Shyeah right, you want a beer. Let’s see that ID,” at restaurants/bars/the Ren Faire.

    Oh well, better than many alternatives. Also, I’d love a copy of Goblin Quest! I loaned mine to a friend last spring, and I have a feeling it’s lost to me.

  15. Here via Jim Hines’ LJ…

    A few years ago, when I was in my early thirties, I decided to fuel my rep mobile ready for a long journey the next day. At the petrol station (the one I used at least once a week) it occurred to me that it was after 4pm on a Sunday and I had no wine. So I grabbed a bottle on my way to the till — and promptly got asked to prove my age. Eventually waving around my credit card and my All Star card, and making pointed remarks about the company-provided Alfa 147 I’d just filled with petrol persuaded the manager that I might just be over 18.

  16. I remember when I was in high school – had to be senior year – and a bunch of friends and I went to a bowling alley one night. Well, I made some comment to my friend about getting a beer or something, and my friend made a bet with me that I couldn’t get one. So I walked up to the bar, just asked straight out for a Fat Tire (I mean, it *is* the best beer afterall), and was practically handed one. And throughout this a cop on duty was standing right there. So needless to say, my friend paid for my beer and then some.
    Now, I will point out that at the time I thought (and don’t ask me why I thought this) that, being 18, I could get beer. So I probably was alot more calm doing this undere that impression… But still, I like the story for the simple fact that I did it next to a cop.

  17. As a substitute teacher of upper grades, there have been some occasions when I wasn’t sure if the person entering my classroom was a student or a teacher/parent. Let me just say that if the age is in question when you are approached in a classroom, let them do the talking first. It might just clarify things before you put your foot in your mouth.

  18. I was a leader at a youth dance and mistaken for one of youth when I was asked to dance.

    T.J., I posted your contest on my blog.

  19. @cspokey. Of course I follow you. And I RT’d the contest.

    I’ll tell the story that happened when your daughter was born. 🙂

    Lizzie was just hours old when I went to the hospital. I was holding her when a nurse walked in and said “oh, you must be her older sister!”

    Of course we corrected her and said I was Mary’s sister, but that story still makes me laugh.

  20. Funny stories! I have a few of my own. People are fun.

  21. My dad used to renovate houses and sell them. I used to work with him and help him out a lot. One day while working on a house, some prospective buyers came by to look at it. This couple talked to my dad a bit about the property and the area and whatnot, and then when they met me, the woman said, “And you must be his wife!”

    I was a bit horrified at this comment, not just because he’s my father, but because my father is in his late sixties, and I was at the time 23. “Oh no, I’m his daughter.”

    The woman nodded and then I guess deciding she’d gotten a better look at me said, “Oh we have a teenager, too.”

    I couldn’t even think to correct her a second time. Who jumps from wife to teenager? I was bothered by this on so many levels. Not only that she mistook my age twice, but that she did it so drastically, and that she could have actually believed both that I was a teenager, and that I was married to an obviously much older man. I guess I have the ageless Asian factor in me a bit, since I am half-Japanese on my dad’s side, and I’m also five feet tall, so I do still get confused for a teenager at times, but that particular interlude puzzles me to this day.

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