I finally bit the bullet. After 10 years of constant cajoling via snail and email, I joined AARP. For the discounts, benefits and mostly the cheesy gift bag they promised. Which has yet to arrive. But that’s OK, it’s an organization of old people, they’re forgetful.
This wasn’t easy parting with 14 bucks which gets me, among other things, a monthly magazine (also yet to arrive, c’mon people), reduced prices on things like prescription drugs (I take none, but who knows what the future holds?), and savings on purchases from places like the Popcorn Factory (Are you kidding? You know how easily popcorn shards get jammed into dentures? Get real).
When my card arrived, I immediately felt older. I mean this is for old people, right? I’m not old, for heaven’s sake, I just turned 60, which they say is the new 50, which is the new 40, right on down the reverse-chronology line. So does that make 10 the new in utero? That age-equivalent nonsense has to stop somewhere.
I went on line to register. It asked to create a password. Now, if you’re like me, you probably have the same password for the roughly 4,500 other things you need a “secret” password for these days. It just makes it easier to remember, and you know, as we age, we forget things. Like what we’re talking about. What was I talking about? Gimme a minute, it’ll come back to me.
Oh, AARP. So I register and take a survey. Harmless enough, I love surveys. This one asks about health preferences, like managing my health (so far, so good, no management necessary), and long-term care. Whoa, long-term care? That conjures up images of smelly nursing homes and doddering old people in assisted living. I’m not there yet. I’m still in the stages of making fun of it.
Next was finance, and “navigating the job market after 50.” Really? There IS one? Beyond being a greeter at WalMart? Who knew?
There’s also home and family preferences, including making my home “comfortable, safe and efficient.” Well, I suppose picking up the piles of clothing and old pizza boxes my adult son leaves lying around could reduce the tripping hazard. But then he wouldn’t be able to laugh at me when I stumble over that old KFC box on the floor he’s left there since August, and I don’t want to deprive him of yuks. Just in case he has to take care of me in my real old age.
OK, checking out benefits. One of which is driver safety courses. What, they think because I’m of a certain age, I’m a bad driver? They want to be helpful, they’ll have courses on how to deal with kids with their pants down around their buttcracks crossing the street in front of you going slower than the Obamacare website. Damn kids.
I see they also have health webinars. Interesting. But what the hell is a “webinar?” Something to do with spiders? I hate spiders. Let’s move on.
They also talk about financial security on the same page they offer a credit card. Make up your mind, for heaven’s sake, you can’t have it both ways.
Hey, look, they even have motorcycle insurance. For old people? I have this image of an old man in a helmet scrunched way down behind the handlebars unable to see over them. My guess is that insurance is pretty steep.
Look, a free doughnut with coffee purchase at Dunkin’ Donuts. Seriously. As if our arteries weren’t clogged enough. I remember taking my dad to his favorite Dunkin’ for his free doughnut and him being greeted by cheery people who knew him because he went there every day. I loved my dad dearly, but at that moment, seeing my future, I wanted to drown myself in my large cream-no-sugar.
Ah, discounts at casinos. Nice. Make it easier to pump that Social Security check into a whirring, colorful machine one quarter at a time.
OK, found the discounts page, the money shot for old shoppers. Flowers. I see tons of discounts for flowers. Can you buy ahead for your own funeral?
Man, scads of discounts on cruises. Which is good, but I hate cruises. Been on two, hated them both, huge, floating cities jammed with food and fat people, meandering around the ocean in search of a place to dock so thousands of them can stream into shops and pretend they’re getting to know the country they’re in before returning to the ship to dip their faces into the chocolate fountain and then try to sleep in a closet-sized stateroom while bobbing up and down like the stock market they have their retirement funds in. That is, of course, provided all the passengers aren’t stricken with mass vomiting from the norovirus they all shared and the ship stalls and they have to tow it to the nearest shore, hoping it doesn’t flip over first. Thanks, I’ll pass.
It goes on and on and on. Discounts for this, packages for that, and throughout the online pages, older people, ridiculously good looking and smiling, clearly enjoying their lives as AARP members, laughing, loving and living, with photos of smiling, happy grandparents surrounded by smiling, happy grandchildren wondering what they’re going to get left in the will. A word to my future grandchildren: Nothing. You can stop smiling now.
I know it will all work out and I’ll be thrilled by joining AARP. As soon as my cheesy gift bag finally gets here. C’mon, AARP, I’m not getting any younger here.