2661: Age Milestone Privileges

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Age Milestone Privileges
If you reach 122, you get complete unrevertible editorial control over Jeanne Calment's Wikipedia article.
Title text: If you reach 122, you get complete unrevertible editorial control over Jeanne Calment's Wikipedia article.

Explanation[edit]

This is a list of "age milestones" in the United States. As usual for Randall, he has added many fictional entries to supplement some real life ones. The real milestones are the ages at which Americans are generally allowed to do certain things for the first time. These are a mix of legal restrictions (such as the age for driving and voting), rules from private companies (such as movie theaters and car rental companies) and medical guidance (like the shingles vaccine).

Age Privilege Real? Description
16 Drive Yes Legal driving age in the US is set by the individual states, but the general rule is that Americans are allowed to begin driving on public roads at age 16. There are various levels of restrictions on this privilege, however. In Randall's state of Massachusetts, and in 8 other states, 16 is the minimum age to apply for a learner's permit. In most of the country, 16 years is the minimum age for a restricted driver's license.
17 Attend R-Rated movies alone Yes In the US, the Motion Picture Association assigns ratings to movies based on whether they consider the film's content to be suitable for children. In this classification, "R" stands for "restricted", and the guidance from the MPAA is that no one under the age of 17 should be allowed to see it if not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. It should be noted that this guidance does not have force of law, but is sufficiently accepted that nearly all US theaters adopt it as a policy.
18 Vote Yes The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents a minimum age of voting from being set above eighteen, meaning that eighteen-year-olds are old enough to legally vote anywhere in the country. Some states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will turn 18 before the general election, but Randall's state of Massachusetts is not one of them.
21 Buy alcohol Yes While individual states have official power over the drinking age, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act restricts federal funding from states that do not enforce a drinking age of 21 years. This has resulted in a de facto national drinking age of 21 in the US, which is higher than most countries. It should be noted that some states allow minors to drink alcohol under certain circumstances, but no state allows anyone under 21 to buy alcohol.
25 Rent a car Generally Car rental companies set their own age restrictions on renting cars. The industry standard in the US is to charge a higher rate for drivers under the age of 25. Thus, there was not a "prohibition" per se, but 25 is a milestone for "regular" rates and fees on car rentals.
30 Run for Senate Almost This entry is slightly incorrect: According to Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, one must be at least 30 years old in order to become Senator, not run for Senate. For example, Joe Biden was 29 years old when he was first elected to Senate but turned 30 before being sworn in.
32 Rent a Senator's car No This is the first joke entry in the table. For one thing, most Senators do not rent out their cars, which they probably need to use regularly themselves because they have jobs[citation needed] to commute to, and it would be a security hazard to allow random strangers access to their vehicle.

This could also be a reference to the Ambassador, a now defunct car brand.

35 Run for president Almost In the United States, according to Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, a person must be at least 35 years old to be eligible to hold the Office of President. Similar to the age 30 entry, this is slightly incorrect. However, unlike the Senate case, this technicality has not been relevant for anyone elected as United States president—at least not yet (as of 2022).
40 Rent a flying car No A 25-year-old might be able to rent a non-flying car today, but not a flying car, because the technology is not mature enough to the point where they're available to rent. The joke is that by the time a 25-year-old reader becomes 40, the technology will exist and they'll be able to rent a flying car. Unlike the earlier lines, the limitation has nothing to do with their age, just technological development.

Alternatively, even once flying cars are developed, their usage will be more restricted. For example, young people are perceived to be more reckless and/or otherwise dangerous.

This whole issue may be virtually negated if the newly developed flying cars are introduced only as self-flying cars (an off-shoot of self-driving technology but devoid of many of the dangers of navigating roads, i.e. person-controlled vehicles, pedestrians and other ground-based hazards), in which case the age (or even presence) of the renter may be very much more irrelevant than the nature of any route/destination the guidance computer is tasked to fulfill. The question would then be how much a potential passenger would trust pure electronics to avoid all the actual dangers for what is essentially a flying taxi, compared to a human controller who may be fallible but presumably at least has their own fully developed common sense and a degree of self-preservation as well as any requisite training.

45 Learn about the God-Empress No Obviously, the God-Empress does not actually exist because this comic is visible to people under 45 years old.[citation needed] According to 1413, she will be public knowledge by 2040 anyway.
50 Join AARP Yes Full AARP (formerly called the American Association of Retired Persons) membership is available to anyone age 50 and over. Officially, there are no age restrictions to membership, but members under the age of 50 do not have access to full benefits.
50 Get a shingles vaccine Recommendation At the time of the comic, the CDC recommended that adults 50 years and older get the shingles vaccine called Shingrix (this line was not in the original version of the comic, corrected later)
52 Click to skip captchas No Older people might have more difficulty understanding captchas. Also, they could be more inconvenienced because some older people move more slowly, so it would take them longer to move the mouse, and people would care more about older people anyway. However, this would be impractical to implement because if the computer knew the person's age, it would know that the user is a person, not a bot, so there would be no point in a captcha anyway.
55 Vote for God-Empress No It appears that a person must have knowledge of the existence of the God-Empress for ten years before they are sufficiently qualified to elect a new one. Since the God-Empress is (presumably) in power for life, it is likely that most people would have to wait much longer than ten years.
62 $80 national parks lifetime pass Yes The US National Parks Service has a lifetime membership pass for Americans ages 62 and over, which allows access to national parks and other areas managed by the NPS.
65 Eligible for Medicare Yes Medicare is a US government-run health insurance for older people, and indeed begins eligibility at age 65 for the general public.
67 Collect Social Security Yes Social Security is a system of benefits for retired individuals, disabled persons and widows/widowers. U.S. individuals may collect reduced Social Security benefits starting at age 62, and they can collect increased Social Security benefits if they wait until age 70. 67 is considered "Full Retirement Age." There is some debate about whether one would be better off waiting or taking it right away, but for most people Full Retirement Age (67) is at least close to optimal.
68 See "Skip ads" button on live TV No Some DVRs and streaming applications have a feature to skip over commercial breaks in recorded programs, but this could not be available in live TV, since it would require jumping forward in time. Time travel is currently impossible.[citation needed]
70 Run for God-Empress No The name suggests that this would also only be available to women.
75 Ride any animal in a national park No The National Parks Service probably could institute this relatively safely because most people over 75 would not be able to run fast enough to outrun/catch up to an animal and mount it[citation needed] and would not have the rebellious/risk-taking/adventurous streak that would incline them to try.[citation needed]
80 Eligible for Megacare No This is based on becoming eligible for Medicare at age 65.
85 Click to toggle whether an ad is positive or negative about the product No In line with previous milestones regarding advertisements, this implies the ability to control reality and change the mood of the ad one is watching as it is running. Obviously, this is impossible, but could potentially be pulled off by adding an option to change the ad to another ad about the same product, but with the opposite viewpoint of the product. Ignoring the issue that ads that are just negative about a specific target don't tend to be commissioned. Except perhaps in certain areas of political campaigning. Furthermore, the wording appears to imply the new ad is the same as the one you were watching previously, ie. same actors, rather than a different ad about the same product.
90 Click to make any movie R-rated No It is unclear whether this would actually make the movie less appropriate or change the Motion Picture Association's rating to be erroneous. Also, what if the rating was previously NC-17?
100 Get a letter from the president No In the US (which other milestones, such as running for president starting at age 35, indicate is the country being referred to), you can instead get congratulated by the weatherman (Al Roker) on the Today Show. However, the United Kingdom is much closer. People there can apply to receive a card (formerly a telegram, later a TeleMessage) from the Queen on their 100th birthday.
102 (35+67) Collect a presidential pension No The idea behind this joke is that it is the minimum age of presidency plus the minimal age to collect Social Security. There are several reasons why this must be a joke. Two are that Social Security begins 67 years after the person was born, not 67 years after the person's job started, and that the United States government would not bother to set up such a system because the vast majority of people, including former presidents, do not live to 102 years old. In fact, as of 2022, no former United States president has ever lived to 102 years old. The current oldest former U.S. President is Jimmy Carter at 97. Good luck Jimmy, only 5 more years!
105 Get a birthday card from the God-Empress No Being a God-Empress would be more important than being the leader of a single country. This would make the God-Empress's time more valuable, so she only has to send a birthday card to the few people who reach the age of 105. Contrariwise, the God-Empress is presumptively all-powerful and furthermore capable of delegation of ministerial tasks such as card transmission, so the utilitarian fact that the scarcity of 105-year-old people reduces workload is not a plausible justification.
111 Leave your own birthday party early by putting on a magic ring No This is a reference to the Lord of the Rings where Bilbo leaves his eleventy-first birthday party (the Bilbo Baggins Farewell Birthday Party) invisibly by using the One Ring.
118 Vote 100 times No Presumably a joke meaning the person can now cast 100 votes, for each election issue that a younger person can only vote for once, giving their opinion a vastly increased personal weight (or subtlety, if they vote more across the board than merely grant 100 votes to the same outcome), although it may not greatly change the result unless sufficient voters exist (of a like mind) to disproportionately swing the result towards the result desired more by these elder voters than their one-vote juniors.

It is the 100th anniversary of their having (potentially) first voted, and as such is a century milestone. But if there were exactly one election at the same time each year, the first vote on or after their birthday would actually be the 101st vote the person has been eligible to cast in their lifetime. If the sole election of each year were held at a different time of each year, someone who voted in every election might vote for the 100th time at either age 116, 117, or 118. However this milestone would happen earlier because there are often multiple elections per year, e.g., primaries, general elections and possibly runoffs. There may also be several reasons why the person may not have been given the opportunity to vote every year since they were 18, e.g. prior to the women's suffrage being officially ratified barely 100 years ago, but most importantly that the mandated minimum voting age was 21 until much more recently.

120 Collect the pensions of all elected officials No It is very unlikely that any government would award the pensions of all elected officials to anyone because they have reached the age of 120 years.[citation needed]
125 Drink alcohol in an R-rated movie while getting a shingles vaccine from the president No This entry references four earlier milestones (attending an R-rated movie, drinking alcohol, becoming President, and getting the shingles vaccine) whose corresponding ages (17, 21, 35, and 50) sum to 123. While not exactly 125, this may have contributed to the inspiration or age selection of this milestone.
128 Age rolls over, become a baby again No[citation needed] Integer overflow happens in computers when there are not enough bits (binary digits) to store the result of a calculation, and typically happens in computers at a given power of two, such as 128. An unsigned 7-bit number can hold the values 0 to 127 (127 being 27 - 1) and an attempt to go beyond 127 will overflow, also called rollover, back to zero. 7-bit numbers are not common native values in today's computers. For the more usual integers of one byte (8 bits), while a signed byte would roll over after 127, it would typically rollover to -128 rather than to zero, whereas an unsigned byte would rollover to zero but not until after 255.


The title text mentions Jeanne Calment, who holds the record for the oldest person ever (there are biblical references to older people, such as Methuselah, who supposedly lived to 969, but their ages haven't been verified). She reportedly was age 122 when she died in 1997. There's some controversy whether Calment actually claimed her mother's records, including birth certificate, as her own. "Editing wars" have been fought over her Wikipedia page. Randall claims that if you match her age you get sole editorial control over that article. However, if anyone managed to exceed her achieved age, presumably they would get their own page (albeit that they should not be encouraged to edit it themselves) and hers would cease to be as interesting - although that might depend on what use is made of the unparalleled editorial control now granted.

Transcript[edit]

Age Milestones
and associated privileges

16  Drive
17  Attend R-rated movies alone
18  Vote
21  Buy alcohol
25  Rent a car
32  Run for senate
35  Run for president
40  Rent a flying car
45  Learn about the God-Empress
50  Join AARP
50  Get a shingles vaccine
52  Click to skip captchas
55  Vote for God-Empress
62  $80 National parks lifetime pass
65  Eligible for Medicare
67  Collect Social Security
68  See "Skip Ads" button on live TV
70  Run for God-Empress
75  Ride any animal in a national park
80  Eligible for MegaCare
85  Click to toggle whether any ad is positive or negative about the product
90  Click to make any movie R-rated
100  Get a letter from the president
102  (35+67) Collect a presidential pension
105  Get a birthday card from the God-Empress
111  Leave your own birthday party early by putting on a magic ring
118  Vote 100 times
120  Collect the pensions of all elected officials
125  Drink alcohol in an R-rated movie while getting a shingles vaccine from the president
128  Age rolls over, become a baby again


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Discussion

Who is God empress? 172.68.50.207 (talk) 23:05, 19 August 2022 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I reminds me of the God-empress of Missouri from an earlier comic about nested WWII speculation. 172.69.69.207 (talk) 23:17, 19 August 2022 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
That's comic 2149, yeah. There's also "I Swear Allegiance To The God-Empress In Life And In Death" in comic 1413, a phrase that will suddenly be very familiar in the year 2038.172.70.111.46 03:28, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
The age to learn about Her Majesty, the God-empress is accurate, you kids will just think he's joking before you turn 45 and hear Her voice in your head. 162.158.62.167 (talk) 23:56, 19 August 2022 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The age must be stored in a 7 bit number because it wraps back to zero when 128 is reached. - Brian K 172.70.174.159 (talk) 23:52, 19 August 2022 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

(Hey, you eager lot, you've all forgotten to (properly, if at all) sign your discussion contributions...)
...if it were 8-bit signed, unchecked bitwise rollover could be awkward. Especially in 1's Compliment. 172.70.85.5 00:23, 20 August 2022 (UTC)

Make sure the explanations you’re putting in the table are explanations, not reviews of the comic! I agree with the fact that the comic is “America-centric,” but things like that should be stripped of opinion before being put into the article. A better way to put that might be (before the table) “Since Randall lives in America, many of the entries in this comic are specific to the U.S.” Szeth Pancakes (talk) 01:39, 20 August 2022 (UTC)

Image has been updated, a new line item at age 50 for shingles vaccine. Whosoever knows how to fix the image on this site, please do so. Mrob27 (talk) 05:24, 20 August 2022 (UTC)

I think perhaps the 125 item was meant to be (17+21+35+50) but Randall got it wrong. Mrob27 (talk) 05:51, 20 August 2022 (UTC)

I think 118 means thereafter you get to vote 100 times in each election, not that you have voted 100 times ever. Not correcting the table yet, as I may be the only one who thinks this. Miamiclay (talk) 06:34, 20 August 2022 (UTC)

I thought that, for what it's worth (there wasn't even a table when I first was here, though, and left everyone else to get on with it). If nobody else mentions it ('officially'), I may do so later. 141.101.98.225 08:47, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
I assumed a joke about getting to cast 100 votes in each subsequent election, but the explanation could be what he meant. 172.71.146.73 09:05, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
I agree it's much funnier, but I believe Randall would have thought to write "Vote 100 times per election". Mrob27 (talk) 07:10, 22 August 2022 (UTC)
On further thought, I realized that every other item in the list is a privilege gained at a particular age, rather than an accomplishment, so the alternative explanation makes no sense and should probably be deleted. If anyone agrees, feel free to do so. 162.158.106.21 17:59, 22 August 2022 (UTC)
It could also be a one-off benefit - you get to vote 100 times in the next election after you reach this milestone, or in any election falling in the year that you are this age. 141.101.98.193 10:06, 24 August 2022 (UTC)
There are people who DON'T think it's 100 times per election? It is incredibly clear. None of these are accomplishments, including this one, they're privileges bestowed. No WONDER the explanation seemed to go off on a tangent, counting votes! I mean, who the hell votes every year??! I only see ANYTHING to vote in on average every 3 or 4 years. Yeah, definitely delete the counting votes stuff. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)

I don't think it was deliberate, but I think a certain editor ended up globally deleting some words (without going back to check the Diffs: car, election, Senator, years) from the text when adding something new. Be careful. Easy to restore, and hopefully I did that even whilst retaining the legitimate-looking edit that coincided with that error, but seems like something I need to mention as having happened. 172.69.79.173 20:31, 20 August 2022 (UTC)

I suspect that the "age rolls over" idea came from the Wikipedia search excerpt using Duck Duck Go in Firefox (haven't checked anywhere else) - Screenshot --Steve (talk) 02:10, 21 August 2022 (UTC)

128 is also where the accumulated lives of Super Mario roll back over to zero. L-Space Traveler (talk) 00:59, 22 August 2022 (UTC)

The Age 18 title is "buy alcohol" but the discussion is all about drinking alcohol. They are different things. Jgharston (talk) 11:24, 22 August 2022 (UTC)

There's no particular reason why a God-Empress should have to be in power for life. They might serve a given term, or simply until they choose to hand over the title, and then retire to a life of retreat in their temple, or something. 172.70.86.34 15:54, 22 August 2022 (UTC)

Well, it could indeed be something very like that.... (Everyone less than 45 will have to continue to think this is just a joke, of course.) 172.69.79.201 16:33, 22 August 2022 (UTC)

I take it whoever wrote the skip captcha entry is barely out of short trousers if they think that over-52s are 'old' and 'move slowly'? I'd suggest Randall probably chose this age because it (roughly, and currently) aligns with the start of the Unix epoch - these are people 'born before computer time'. 172.70.86.34 08:16, 23 August 2022 (UTC)

The reference to the Ambassador car seems a bit of a stretch - an ambassador is quite a different thing to a senator.172.70.162.147 08:23, 23 August 2022 (UTC)

Are we sure people don't get letters from the president at 100? My great grandma lived to be 103 and she got one at 100 and each year after. That was back in the early 90's and might not still happen.-RatedArgh

You can still request a presidential greeting at https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-greeting/ for a birthday or other personal milestones, and I would be surprised if such requests were ever refused. Of course, one might argue that there is a distinction to be made between a letter from the President and a robosigned form letter from the White House Communications Agency (?).108.162.237.83 18:52, 24 August 2022 (UTC)

I wonder if the privileges at 85 and 90 are a reference to changing perception not reality. I certainly know old people with hearing & CNS irregularities who will perceive an ad as positive or negative depending much more on their current mood than the actual content in the ad. 172.71.160.15 08:35, 24 August 2022 (UTC)

WHY does the R-rating entry specifically mention NC-17?? Why would that rating be more interesting? I THINK it's the highest before R, but so what? That's the significance of the entry, changing the rating. Seems like G would be a bigger deal, either denying kids their movies or making kids' movies inappropriate for kids... If I get no explanation in a few days I'll delete that part. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)

The order of movie ratings,from most to least accessible is G, PG PG13 R NC17(formerly X). Thus changing an NC17 to an R rating would make it more accessible.(whether by changing the movie to fit the rating or just allowing more people to see it) It's worth noting that NC17 is the only rating that movie theaters actually check ID for, the other ratings are only guidelines. Many movie theaters won't even show NC17 movies, so it is very common for movie studios to edit any movies that recieve an initial NC17 rating until it recieves an R.172.71.22.105 02:01, 30 August 2022 (UTC)

The description for 'See "Skip ads" button on live TV' says that it would require time travel, but that's not always true. Many TV shows are a first-time "live" broadcast of a pre-recorded show. It is technically possible to have a "Skip ads" button that moves forward in the pre-recorded show. It would switch to a On Demand-style streaming, similar to how some cable systems allow starting a "live TV" show over from the beginning, before the show has finished airing, by switching to an On Demand show behind the scenes. Note to self: patent this. Mschmitt (talk) 19:52, 28 August 2022 (UTC)