One of the first steps to being old
I have decided that AARP — formerly the American Association of Retired Persons — is stalking me. At any rate, I think the organization has gone from informative to obnoxious.
I turned 66 in November, and they turned up the heat. I am not one of those people who was approached at, say 50 or even 55 and invited to join that happy group of older Americans who were offered discounts to movies, motels, restaurants, and lumber yards across the country. I attributed that to the fact that I didn’t have grey hair.
At that age The Mister had a good deal of grey hair and also had an AARP discount card. I found that surprising, but figured AARP had a way of knowing who really looked old and who didn’t. I was happy not to have grey hair or a discount card. And I was pretty sure my genes would keep me out of the grey hair thing for numerous years and it has. Thank you, Mom!
A year or so ago, a single lonely AARP membership application arrived for me. I filled it out and got ready to cash in with coupons and movie discounts. I sent them $16 for a year’s membership and I was in — in over my head.
I get mail every day from that organization. Large envelopes thick with pages of wondrous bargains, bargains I neither want, nor would ever use. What happened to the movie and motel discounts? They must have decided that I am too old to need them.
Now they offer me Medicare gap insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, car insurance, additional health insurance, drug insurance, homeowner’s insurance, roadside insurance, and more. Each thick letter has pages that urge me to sign up now — they tell me that my eligibility to accept the offer will end soon. I must hurry!
Then comes another thick envelope a week later with the same offer addressed to me personally on several pages because that will make me think they actually know me, right? It will make me realize they know my needs and only have my best interest at heart. Sheesh, I love it when someone seeking my business treats me like I am stupid.
During the year, I also get a couple of publications that tell me they are there to help me, but I seriously doubt that. Usually the publication tells me what some famous person like Oprah Winfrey or Bette Midler does to stay young. Huh? How does that work and why would I care? Didn’t I already admit to being 66 years old?
And finally, I find myself on the mailing lists of a dozen or so charitable organizations requesting my financial support. I have never contributed to any of these groups and they are not in the sphere of groups I wish to support. However, their requests for funds suddenly are in my mailbox. So who gave them (or sold them) my name? I think I have a pretty good idea.
Makes me wish I had never written that first membership check. What could I have been thinking?
— SUSAN MARSHALL
Last modified Feb. 14, 2013