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age

Age. We finally get to a word I know something about.

Ever since I turned 40, which was more than twenty years prior to me writing these words, whenever I go to a check up that is even vaguely medical, the healthcare or fitness professional has always felt the need to tack “for a man your age” onto the end of his or her assessment of my health or fitness.

A man my age. Harumph. If you’re not there yet, but you are anything like me, reaching the point where people felt the need to point out that you are a man your age (or, I suppose, “a woman your age” would have the same effect; even more so if you are and are happy being a man) is going to be depressing for you.

Well, on the bright side, I suppose I’m better off than if a medical professional felt the need to say, “He’s in pretty good shape for a man who’s dead.”

In addition to being a noun that means the number of years since someone’s birth, the word age can also be used as a verb, in which case, one of its meanings is the involuntary and unavoidable action by which I became a man my age. Did I day, harumph?

To age can also mean to mature or mellow. This doesn’t necessarily refer to humans, or any animal for that matter. It could, for example, refer to the aging of wine. Cheese too, but wine, and, specifically, the desire to drink enough of it to forget about what’s troubling me, is something that comes to mind when I get depressed about my age.

Going back to the noun age, an age can also mark a threshold that someone has crossed, such as the voting, drinking or driving age. Or the drinking while driving to vote age which, if the laws are worth a damn in the place in question, is an age that one reaches sometime after death, when drinking and driving to vote is no longer possible..

The noun age can also be used to mean a particular period of time, typically in history, such as the age of the horse and buggy age, or in prehistoric times, such as the Stone Age or Iron Age, or possibly the current age, the Twitter- and Facebook-Induced Attention Deficit Age.

(Wouldn’t it be funny if, hundreds of years from now, that is what historians call this age? Unfortunately, I won’t be around to laugh at it. Then again, the way things are going, by then historians likely won’t be able to hold that or any other thought in their attention-deprived brains for more than a nanosecond.)

As suggested by the examples above, if you are talking about a specific named age, you should capitalize the “A” in Age, along with the first letter of any other words that form the name for that age. Why? To show them some respect, that’s why—that and because they are proper nouns.

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