I had an ‘hmmm’ moment today while working at the market. I had just finished giving a fifty-something woman (one of our regulars) her change, telling her to have a good afternoon, and turned to greet the next customer, a guy also about my age, another recurring shopper. I said “Afternoon, sir – how’s the weekend treating you”? To which he replied, “I’m fine, Mark,” Quickly adding “You’re sure jolly today”! The woman, who was getting her purse put back together and her gloves on, immediately chimed in “Oh, he’s always jolly”! I drolly said “In a previous life, I must’ve been Santa Claus”. They both laughed, I thanked her for the compliment, and began chatting with the guy, and got his order taken care of and that was that.
Except that two people had just called me ‘jolly’.
I suppose that now that I have ambled to the far side of fifty, I should expect odd occurrences like this…but ‘jolly’? It’s not like I’ve adopted a plump-profile and my beard has turned pitch-white or anything. And it’s not like it’s a bad thing to be called ‘jolly’ – it’s just not a word I would picture attaching to myself.
I guess I should be glad she didn’t escalate matters to something like ‘jovial’ or ‘avuncular’. Or ‘genial’ – man, that one just doesn’t work – I may BE genial, but don’t call me that!
I suppose none of these words (if I were to truly follow the advice of the late Dick Martin and ‘Look it up in your Funk & Wagnall’s’!) actually says anything about age, per se…although you gotta admit, they do have that sort of connotation.
Actually, the whole less-than-sordid incident did get me to thinking about potential verbiage that could be hurled my way now that I’ve mastered a full half-century, and got me thinking about things I can look forward to being called. I know have a liiiiitle bit of gray popping up in my facial hair; on days when I haven’t shaved around the outskirts of my goatee and moustache, I can look a little grizzled, in a Brett Favre sort of way. ‘Grizzled’ isn’t too bad, but it’s usually used as part of a phrase of some sort; I guess I must be a ‘grizzled veteran’ of…something.
Maybe I’m ‘venerable’ to someone. ‘Venerable’ I could get used to hearing. Maybe ‘sage’ – sage would be O.K., too. I could live with that. I suppose it really doesn’t matter a whole lot, as long as people are calling me nice things. As the saying goes, ‘You can call me anything but late for supper’!
Then again, it’s only January; maybe ‘jolly’ is just a holiday word the guy isn’t ready to put away til next year with the other ornaments yet.