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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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January 25, 2005

What's a senior citizen?

What is a “senior citizen?” How old do you have to be? At 53, I am well into middle age, and wonder about that. Especially when I get press releases like these:

News Release
Attend the Age 55+ Job Club Workshop
Sponsored by the
Seattle Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens

The Alaska Building, 618 - 2nd Avenue,
Elliott Bay Room, 15th Floor
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon


Well, it didn’t quite say that 55 is a senior citizen, but almost. In my industry, we are advised to use the term “sparingly.” My desk editor looked it up in the AP Stylebook, and it said that. It also said, “See ELDERLY,” so we looked that up, too, and it said to use that sparingly.

I remember a rule from years ago not to call a person “old” in print unless we had verified that they were at least 80.

All of which is probably denial. I should not complain, else the politically sensitive types at the city rename the Office of Senior Citizens some other, less offensive thing, like naming the dump the “transfer station,” after which we shall not know what it is.

Respond to Bruce

Read his latest column

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at January 25, 2005 03:43 PM



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