Today we salute the intrepid Emile Ratelband, joining him to commiserate as he cries in his beer over his unsuccessful court case.
His was not your run of the mill court battle, but was, as we legal types say, a “case of first impression”. No one had ever before petitioned a court to amend a birth certificate to shave 20 years off their age, but that didn’t stop Emile, a spry 69 year old Dutchman, from asking the court to re-set his age at 49.
His argument was simple, but ultimately unpersuasive: one is able to change other information contained in one’s birth record, such as name, or now even gender, so why shouldn’t one’s date of birth be equally malleable?
The court, while giving a tip of the hat to those old adages ” You are only as old as you feel” and “age is just a number ” told Emile that while he was free to imagine himself as any age he wished, they weren’t going to mess with government records.
As a Boomer myself, long in denial about all things related to age, I can certainly understand where Emile was coming from, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why he brought the suit. I can think of absolutely no advantage to having a re-jigged birth certificate, as it would deny me the joy of a half price fare on BC Ferries some days, and the Gov’t cheque that pays my monthly wine bill every month would suddenly stop.
Emile, the first rule in any law suit is “what do I get out of this if I win?” So I find myself in agreement with the court – feel as young as you want, but don’t try to disguise your real age – and bear in mind the sage comments of And Rooney:
“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”
― Andy Rooney