A year ago, immediately after my mother’s 79th birthday, she started telling everyone she was 80. While others might desperately cling to 79, she kind of skipped right over it. And I can understand where she was coming from. At 79 you’re a bit more accountable; people expect a little more from you. At 80 you can get away with pretty much everything under the sun.

All this past year, whenever she made a silly mistake, like mis-dialing a phone number, calling one of her children by the wrong name, or forgetting which pocket of her purse she tucked her keys into, she’d pass it off by saying, “Well, I’m 80 now, you know.”

Eighty is the crossover age. If you’re a guy, you go from being a sexy senior citizen to being a geezer in a single day. But if you’re female? The people who manufacture t-shirts with slogans on them go with geezerette. My guess is that it’s a whole lot more marketable than old biddy or old broad.

So Mom’s been “practicing” being 80 for a whole year. Just creeping up on it, getting used to the idea. But the joke’s on her. Earlier this month I asked my brother if he was planning anything for Mom’s 80th.

“Her 80th?” he asked incredulously. “I thought she was already 80.”

“Born in 1931; you do the math.”

So brother John took Mom to the Mariner’s game yesterday. It was what she loves most of all. But it tired her out, so our planned pizza with everything on it and lemon meringue pie will have to wait.

Her “real age” may be catching up with her.