Thanks for your comments. I’ll try to address all your points!

Matt: I’ll try to clarify: I’m condemning people playing the “age” card as a means to win otherwise unwinnable arguments. It’s a trump card to say “Yeah, but I’m older than you and I’ve been through all this before and this is how I changed my mind so you will too,” for example.

It’s belittling to tell somebody their feelings are invalid. And what? Is the victim supposed to just say, “Oh, yeah, I guess you must be right, then: I’ll change my opinions to match yours!” No, that’s almost never expected as a result: therefore, it’s mostly done as a means to later gloat in an “I told you so,” manner.

People should be allowed to, so far as possible, make their own mistakes in life without being told that because they’re following the same path as those before them they will inevitabley have to come to the same conclusion.

Claire/Matt: Nah, the most likely of Claire and I to be injured in some horrible way is blatantly me. Just yesterday I was flinging flaming brands over my head, right before I went home and started making some homebrew: either one of these things can quite easily give me a serious injury or illness. Meanwhile, Claire finished her work, walked home, and played some video games. I think I’m living the more dangerous lifestyle.

Wrin: (who did well to leave a comment so soon despite the timezone difference) Perhaps your father knows more, and perhaps he doesn’t, but the crucial point is that – alcoholic or not – he has no right to try to tell you whether or not your decisions in life are “right” (he can disagree with you and disapprove of them, certainly, and that’s up to him, but you’ll probably ignore him on issues of drink, anyway, because of his alcohol problem). Thanks for sharing.

Yes, what you stated can be made to work in the UK with a little wrangling. While we both still have living familial next-of-kin (I considered the term “blood relatives,” but realised that doesn’t make much sense in Claire’s case, as she’s an adoptee) we’ll probably not bother with formalities, as we believe that each other’s parent(s) will trust us when we say, “This is what (s)he would want.” When Claire’s dad or my parents die, we’ll put some thought into the implications.

On the other hand, as we now share a surname and we’re both (but particularly me) able social hackers, we probably won’t have any difficulty making people believe we’ve a right of access to each other.

Faye: Yeah, we’ve talked about this (in the college library, mostly, IIRC) before, haven’t we, and you recently made a blog post that at least partially inspired this one.

Your response comes as no surprise, because you – like me – hold a number of strong and unusual views, some of which your elders disagree with. Would you agree with my theory that being older makes it easier: that you don’t get so many people telling you you’re wrong now than you used to?

Thanks again, everybody.