The headline ran: "Britain needs you! Hunt urges older people to rejoin the workforce."
It was referring to a story about the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was urging people aged 50-64 to realise 'there is more to life than golf' and get back to work.
I wonder how many people read that story, and thought the same as me. First of all, I never realised I had left the workplace. I'm just looking at my surroundings now – yes the carpet's changed, and the blinds have been replaced, but I'm pretty sure it's the same building I worked in during my 30s and 40s. It's definitely not a golf course.
More pertinently, until the Chancellor's intervention, it never really crossed my mind that I had become an 'older person'. It doesn't seem five minutes since a local councillor patronisingly addressed me as 'young man' at a public meeting (it was actually about 10 years ago). And I remember my dear old mum referring to somebody of about 70 as being 'in late middle age'.
Of course, strictly speaking we are all 'older people'. Even Macaulay Culkin. It is what grammaticists would describe as a 'comparative adjective' rather than an 'absolute' one. But of course in 21st century Britain we can't actually say what we mean, lest it might theoretically offend a person who doesn't actually exist in some far-off place we've never heard of. It's why councils have to talk about 'affordable' rather than 'low-cost' housing, even though every house is affordable to somebody, otherwise they would never sell it. And we all know that by 'older people', they don't mean 'older than Billy Eilish', which is fair enough, but instead it is a rather condescending way of saying 'a bit over the hill''. Which feels like a bit of a kick in the stomach.
And can you really call somebody over 50 an 'older person'? I know Saga now caters for anybody over 50, but I always assumed that was just a ruse to flog more cruises and insurance policies. I don't have a grey hair on my head, I still enjoy fast cars, and I keep up to speed with all the young people's lingo. It never seriously occurred to me that it was time to slow down, spend Saturday nights watching Strictly Come Dancing, or playing Mantovani at 78rpm.
Then again, it has just come to my attention that Richard Wilson was only 53 when he first started playing Victor Meldrew, the cantankerous security man forced into early retirement after being replaced by an electronic box. Unbelievable.
Maybe it is human nature that we all see other people in relation to ourselves. That's why you know it all when you are young, and as the years pass, it is the people around who get younger.
Maybe that's why we all feel such schadenfreude when somebody screws up on The Apprentice, why our jaws drop at the stupidity of the candidates. Like the one a couple of weeks ago, a supposedly bright entrepreneur in his late 20s or early 30s who said he had no idea how to use a street map, to the agreement of all his team-mates.
"I think it's a bit before all our time," chipped in one of them. Don't they teach geography in schools anymore? I suspect they still do a subject that is officially called 'geography'. But by the time they have dealt with all the colonialism, slavery and global warming, there isn't much time left for the actual geographical part of the syllabus.
But, back to the story, the Chancellor is concerned about figures that suggest the pandemic led to a surge of people aged 50-64 dropping out of the workforce. What do they do all day? They must be bored out of the minds.
I know some people have to retire young for health reasons, and I realise there are some jobs you need to be young to do. But really, why would any youngish, healthy, active person want to spend their days wandering around the garden centre when they should be at the height of their careers? It can't be good for the health, physical or mental. Some of the most sprightly octogenarians I have known are those who still keep their hand in at work. Human beings are driven creatures that are built to work. A bit like pack horses or border collies.
Besides, with more and more people notching up their centuries, it is surely unsustainable to have people throwing in the towel when they are only half way there. Especially as these days, most people don't start their careers until they are well into their 20s.
In an interconnected, globally connected world, the nations that prosper will be those who work hardest. I'm up for the challenge, and fully expect to still be working in my 70s.
After all, who wants to end up like Victor Meldrew?