I am blessed with amazing adult role-models and mentors in my life - honorable, stand-up men and women who make me a better person just by allowing me to spend time around them. I continue to glean so much wisdom from our conversations, and from watching how they live their lives.
Along with my admiration, though, I can't help but make jokes when one of my mentors says something that... well, "shows their age." Phrases like, "double clutch," or, "pencil whip," that are not part of my generational vernacular. To these I often respond jokingly, "get off my lawn!"
Or, if someone starts talking about, for example, phonographs (that's "record players" to you youngin's) or rotary telephones, or if they start the story with the words "you wouldn't know about this because you're too young," then I'll respond with a question: "that was right around the time fire was invented?" or, "was that before or after the wheel?" or, "you walked uphill both ways, side-by-side with the dinosaurs?" My co-worker John has another phrase he uses frequently: "Let's see, Lincoln was shot in '65..."
I say everything in a spirit of comedy, but it goes deeper than that. For anyone to/at whom I've made an "old joke," the reason I can make jokes like these is because you have welcomed me into your life and made me feel like an equal in our relationship. Every time I make an "old joke," it carries with it a deep respect, admiration, and love. It means I'm acknowledging that you have valuable wisdom from a life I consider well-lived, that you are a person I respect, and it's me saying that I desire to model my own life after the way you live yours.
Thank you for being you.