At the moment I am sitting in a diner somewhere in northern Jersey. It’s that weird pre lunch hour where the only patrons are the elderly and, apparently, consumer researchers who are in between interviews.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the elderly. Seeing my fellow patrons struggle walk, sit down, and eat reminds me just how cyclical life is. We are born into this world needing help and hopefully we live long enough to leave this world needing help. This reminds me of an experience I had in high school.

When I was a freshman or a sophomore, our church youth group sent me to a hybrid retreat/leadership conference. We discussed topics such as being kind to the elderly as well as the environment. Afterwards, we were asked to split into groups to come up with a program that we could institute in our communities to tap into the principles we learned at the conference. The following was my first attempt at ideation and concept development:

Adopt a grandparent, they’re biodegradable.

To me, this program (adopt a grandparent) and it’s unique selling proposition (they’re biodegradable ) was a silver bullet as it encompassed two of the day’s major themes. Surely the leaders of the conference would be impressed.

Not exactly.

After the laughs of my fellow attendees died down, our group was reprimanded for not taking the assignment seriously. That said, I’ll be damned if I remembered any of the other ideas coming out if that session.

It’s over 20 years later and I still have a wicked sense of humor. Recently a friend told me, “Mike , your problem is that you have no filter.” I’ll admit there are times when I could use a bit more self control but trying to get a laugh out of someone is apparently a greater need than my need for approval.

I’d spend more time thinking about this but one of my fellow patrons just spilled his hot soup on his cardigan sweater and needs my help. Maybe he’ll reward me with either a sour ball or a Werthers.