I feel like a bit of a fraud. I’m a member of the AARP, which stands for “American Association of Retired Persons,” but (sadly) I’m a long, long way from retirement (sob sob).

I also feel like an old fool (but where are we going to find one at this time of the day?). The thing is, just a couple of weeks ago as I pen these words, I celebrated the 33rd anniversary of my 33rd birthday (eeek!), which has caused me to cogitate and ruminate about the meaning of life and things of that ilk.

While I was out with my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) yesterday, we visited some store or other. When we came to the checkout, Gina asked if they would offer me a “senior discount.” O-M-G..oodness gracious me, is all I can say.

I was just perusing the June/July issue of the AARP magazine, which is jam-packed with all sorts of useful information I never expected to read or need. There was a small piece about Ray Romano (the star of Everybody Loves Raymond) who is now 65. As he says, “65? How did that happen? Mentally I feel like a stupid young goofball. Physically is another story.” I know just what he means.

Fortunately, I still retain at least some of my cognitive capabilities. The magazine included a “Brain Games” section with puzzles by Stanley Newman (a man who deserves a sound thrashing, if you ask me). One puzzle in particular caught my attention. Take a look at the following equation:

Brain boggler (Click image to see a larger version — Source: AARP/Stanley Newman)

All we are told is the following: There are nine letters. Each letter represents a different numerical digit in the range 0 through 9. The digit 8 is not used. And, finally, S is three times L. Our mission, should we decide to accept it, is to determine which letters correspond to which digits and work out the unique sum.

This was a hard one. I’ve never really done a puzzle like this before. At first, it seemed impossible, but then I thought, “Hang on, if … then …,” and–step by logical step–I fought my way forward.

I didn’t time myself (I wish I had), but I think it took me around ten minutes to finally crack the result. I must admit that I was pretty darn pleased with myself once I had worked out the answer.

On the other hand, now I’m exhausted (I think I’ll take a nap). How about you? I’d love to hear how long it takes you to solve this little scamp.