I’m a non-traditional student.

From my research, that’s the polite form of “geezer.”

How non-traditional am I? Two markers come to mind.

First, this year marks my second time in twelfth grade. I did the whole K-12th thing. Now I’m embracing school year twelve post-Jesuit High diploma. The ol’ college plus eight.

Four degrees (pray God, come May) will get you a blog career but a sizable math problem. Double twelve is…twenty-four. Pretty sure—though my last math class was junior year in high school (or 2 B.C. for those scoring on a “before college” calendar).

So I won’t be producing a number to mark the celebration. Like a boomer’s birthday cake, there’s not enough space for all those hashmarks.

My other measure, however, gets me to non-traditional status a little more painfully. Some would say, through the back door.

How non-traditional of a student am I? I spent my summer vacation at the gastroenterologist’s office.

From mid-May to last Thursday, I worked at a firm and with a judge, finishing just in time to make it on vacation as the kiddos were reporting for book day. I made sure to block off my three days for some quality “me time,” which I spent travelling to hyper-exclusive vistas. Dentist and doctor vistas, to be precise. Côte d’Azur, hold my script.

And these weren’t basic wellness visits either. Apparently, I’m now onto the specialist stage of my life.

So let’s stop the “non-traditional” charade and just embrace geezerhood. Nothing beats living in the truth—and those early-bird dinner discounts. A happy hour by any other name, amirite?!

More pointedly, nothing beats a wait in a GI examination room. I’m considering returning for the sheer entertainment value. If, that is, I can manage to overlook that half-gallon tub of lubricating gel resting on the counter. Sitting around for thirty minutes, you begin to notice things.

The most noticeable thing? All the smiling faces. Between advertisements for Metamucil, the examination room television flashed with pearly-white-happy headshots. We’re not selling a procedure and a prescription; we’re selling a life of guttural joy—that was my half-hour subliminal lesson.

And I get that. Don’t market a product; market an idea, right? It’s just the text with those stock images also whispered: You’re one of us now, geezer; calibrate your happiness accordingly!

Think it’s my white-coat, stir-crazy talking? Picture these.

Smiling Asian man, with a distinguished goatee. He stands beside the message: “Questions about stomach cancer?” Sure hope not! What could you be possibly grinning about?

Or a younger Black man, sporting a denim apron, another goatee, and an even larger smile. “Trouble swallowing? It could be EoE!” I don’t know that acronym, nor was I having trouble swallowing until you brought it up. Now, all is sand; I am desert. What is EoE,, and how is it digitally communicable?!?

Or a 60-something White guy looking every bit the retiree’s retiree, working a beautiful goatee and an even prettier smile. “11 Hep-C risk factors you can’t ignore.” If I could swallow, I would ask about these and how they bring you happiness. Is the smile the early retirement or the way you got the risk factors? So confused—and still so thirsty.

Or a woman (surprisingly goatee-less) staring confidently off-camera and into her future, smile pinned on. “4 signs your stomach pain is IBS.” And I thought I was just a little hungry. Can I talk to that retiree guy again??

On and on and on they scrolled. Men with goatees. Women deeply confident. All having the time of their lives. Me in rapt amazement, wondering when the final scene of “The Life of Brian” would pop on.

It never did, either because of the royalty costs or Brian’s rather unkempt goatee. Good GI care was tough in those BC times.

So find your non-traditional—either at school or in the waiting room. Even geezers can have a laugh.

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Shameless plug (or plaintive plea?): Loyola Law Review is open for submissions. Let’s say I know somebody who knows somebody. If you know practitioners who have a burning twenty-five pages, send them our way. Only well-read need apply.