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Common Sense: Age is supposed to bring wisdom

March 5, 2013

By Brent Davis, editor

Yesterday, I celebrated another year on this planet. Despite the years seeming to fly by in measurements of time that grow shorter and shorter, I can honestly say I've never felt better. I count myself lucky.
Each member of our family abides by a standing tradition of having every wish granted on their particular birthday. As our children have grown and left the house, my wife and I have focused more on each other at birthdays. We know each others schedule and coordinating the event is much easier. This isn't to say we ignore our children. Nothing is farther from the truth. We still do our best to pamper our kids, especially with our impending empty nest this fall.
With age comes wisdom, or so it is said. I remember that as I grew, I was amazed at how much smarter my parents became.
I was particularly amazed at my father's skill at Trivial Pursuit. My sister, brother, mother and I would play the game with Dad. Without fail, he knew the answers to questions we all felt he would be able to handle. We felt our victory was assured.
It never failed. The question could be as obscure as "Who was Dwight Eisenhower's second half-cousin on his mother's step-grandmother's side that won Miss Sweet Potato Queen in Mississippi when she was 15?" He would sit there, calm as a cucumber with a smug but playful grin on his face and say "Eulene Estes."
By the way, don't bother doing a Google search. I made the question up for illustrative purposes.
I think you get the point and I know all of us have experienced this same phenonenom of increased parental wisdom. Seeing it is supposed to impart wisdom upon us.
So, yesterday was my day to renew my driver's license. Wisdom failed me. Everyone knows not to wait until the last day to complete this task. Honestly, it slipped my mind. I blame the state of Arkansas for sending me the renewal notice two months ago. If it had come two weeks ago, I would have gone earlier.
Since I work in Downtown Benton, I took the short walk from my office to the DFA office across from the courthouse.
The first sign that should have signaled to me that this venture would not go well was the number of people standing outside the building smoking cigarettes. People take smoke breaks when they've been sitting too long, right?
I entered the DFA office and pulled my number from the roll. "09" was the number I pulled. A quick glance at the "up-next" clock indicated that number "72" was currently being served. I surmised I would be there for a while.
Three workers behind the counter divided into 36 people ahead of me meant that 12 pairings of three people would be helped before one of the ladies would say "number 9." Five minutes per pairing equaled 60 minutes equaled one hour. Unfortunately, I had walked into the office at 11:44 a.m. I feared hunger would set in before too long.
Fortunately, several people apparently had grown weary of the wait and decided to leave without turning in their numbers. A succession of five numbers were called out without response. "Keep going" came comments from others around me. We all felt like we were waiting to win the lottery.
As I feared, hunger grew. Three young women with their babies were also waiting their turn before me. Obviously, the children became restless. However, their cries were not my concern. I was eyeing the little ziplock bags of Cheerios.
Finally, my turn came. "Number 9" was called and I jumped to the counter before 10 could be called. In short order, a new license was in my hands. "This new picture is much better than the old one." said the worker. The "old" picture was taken four years ago.
The wait had been worth it after all. Next time, I'll bring a snack.

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