07/18/2019

February 4, 2019: If You Can Change Your Name and Gender, Why Not Your Age?

Now this is a movement I could get behind.  Emile Ratelband, of Arnhem, Holland, recently petitioned the local courts to allow him to become officially 20 years younger.  He told the court that he “suffers” from being 69-years-old and thinks that being 49 would help him with job prospects and getting dates on line.  Bless his heart.

Ratelband, who describes himself as a “positivity trainer,” told the court that if he goes online looking for a date and tells them he is 69, he won’t get a response.  “When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.”  How positive is that trainer?

In case there are one or two of you reading this that are not aware, Tinder is an online dating app that claims to match couples based on their physical attraction to one another.  That is about all I know because the Woman Who Shares My Name said if I get to dabbling around with that kind of stuff, she will shove broccoli up my nose and a couple of other places not suitable for description in a family newspaper.  Rats.  Seeing as how I am a dead ringer for Brad Pitt, I could probably find a rich blond-headed beauty who hates broccoli.  Now, I will never know.

Herr Ratleband’s rationale to the court was that he was a victim of discrimination.  If you can change your name and your gender, why not your age?  Why not, indeed.  For example, Bruce Jenner won a gold medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games and became a Wheaties spokesman.  A gold medal and Wheaties.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

However, somewhere along the line Bruce decided he wanted to become Caitlyn Jenner instead.  That is a perfect example of the name change and gender change thing that Emile is talking about.  It got done however those things get done.  No big deal.  But now let’s look at the age factor.  By my calculations, Caitlyn will be 71 when the Tokyo Olympics take place in 2020.  That is not exactly an ideal age to be competing in the Olympic Games.  Instead of throwing a discus you are more apt to throw your back out. 

So why can’t Caitlyn become 25 like Bruce was when he got his gold medal and his face on a box of Wheaties and before he became a she?  I’m with Emile on this one.  I find that highly discriminatory.  Although – and I am going to tread lightly on this one – if you have seen Caitlyn’s picture lately, you might think twice about the Wheaties.

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you the Dutch court turned down Ratelband’s request.  The court said there are obligations that come with age like the right to vote, the opportunity to drink alcohol and to drive a car.  I assume the jurists weren’t suggesting you drink and drive on your way to the polls, but you never know about those Dutch courts.  They also said declaring oneself younger could open the door to the opposite – becoming older.  Say what?

I have been young and I have been old.  Young is a lot more fun.  When I was 21, I knew everything about everything.  Today I have discovered I don’t know as much as I thought I did and every day I seem to know less.  I do know that my knees didn’t ache all the time at 21 and I wasn’t always losing my car keys.

Still, I would seriously consider being 49-years-old again like Emile wished to be.  That was my prime time.  When I was 49, I ran and finished my one and only marathon.  Today I am lucky to finish my oatmeal without dribbling it down my shirt.  And the only running I do is to the drug store for my pain pills.

I appreciate Emile Ratelband’s efforts but it looks like I am destined to be what I am – old.  If I can’t change my age it doesn’t matter about my gender.   My knees would still ache and I would still lose my car keys.  Furthermore, I would rather look like Brad Pitt than Caitlyn Jenner. 

If it is any consolation to Emile, while you might score big with the chicks if you were 20 years younger, old age is not all that bad when you consider the alternative.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at dick@dickyarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb