Thursday, February 1, 2007

(I'm An) Old Man, Take A Look At My Life

I had to stay up after work today. Normally, I have breakfast, hopefully interact with The Woman I Love, then hit the rack for Z-time. Today, tho, I had to run a couple of errands [as much as can be done on-line, on-phone, on-and-on, some things seem to work better if I do them in person. On balance, though, Dracula could take care of virtually all his business from the enveloping darkness of his coffin, never having to risk exposure to brutal daylight.].

When I got home, TWIL had an odd little smile on her face. She hugged me, gave me a little kiss, then pulled an envelope from behind her back. "I figured I should be the one to give you this", she said, enjoying the moment as much as a person could. I looked at the letter. It was an invitation to membership in the AARP.(For those unawares, particularly those from outside the United States: AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, is a lobbying group extraordinaire. Their focus is on improving the life of older Americans - the "Retired Persons" referred to in the group's name).

It was, to say the least, a moment of mixed emotions. On one hand, AARP has accomplished much for its members [including lowering the age definition of "Senior Citizen" for the coffee discount at McDonald's to 50. (Offer not available everywhere. Please check your local franchise for details...). Then again, I don't drink coffee.], and I had been quietly looking forward to my invitation to get in on the price breaks. On the other hand, I had five fingers {that remark for Bob Sikorski, a former employer. He said that virtually every time I started a sentence with, "On one hand". Bob, if you're reading this, you should know that it really PISSED ME OFF when you said that, and it did nothing to change or improve the situation. I've needed to get that off my chest for over 20 years. Surprisingly, I feel better. I guess there really IS a therapeutic value to blogging...].

Seriously, on the other hand, the invitation to join was nothing more than the "Golden Ticket" to Old Age. Sure, nowadays 50 is not particularly old [FYI: my birthday actually isn't until September. Just in the name of accuracy...], I mean, it wasn't until the year 1919 that the Life Expectancy for men in the US rose above the magic age of 50. As of 2003 [CDC statistics], it had reached 74.8, a virtual 75 [Ironically, the same grade I got in Philosophy my junior year in college. But I digress.]. Still, AARP membership means admitting that you're on the Slippery Slope to Oblivion. Yes, I want to see God. I'm just hoping His Social Calendar is full for a few more years.

I suppose my thinking on the whole subject is incredibly out-of-date. After all, no matter what you thought of him, Ronald Reagan served two terms as President, ending his second four years when he was in his 80's. The age of the oldest person on earth, which for years seemed to be no older than 109 or so, has gone up to 114, in the last couple of years [of course, it's not the same person. I've often wondered about the fact that people at that end of the age spectrum are living longer. I credit reality court-TV shows, and the continued success of Jerry Springer. Love him or hate him, how many TV show hosts are the inspiration for an opera?]. With this weight-loss campaign that I'm on, I'm healthier than I have been in years. Medical science has made countless improvements, allowing people to live longer, healthier lives [and yet, a cold seems to confound them after hundreds of years of research. What's up with that?].

Well, there's little I'd want to do about it. Life, thank God, goes on, and I, for one, can't wait for my Membership Card [My first request: let's get a Senior Citizen discount on tea, OK?]

Hope you keep getting older...

-Mike Riley


Anonymous said...

I had to laugh at this post since I am only 5 years behind you. Sounds like you're still enjoying life though.

Mike, I have a suggestion: your font size is really, really, really small on your blog. What would you think about the idea of making it just a bit bigger? I do wear glasses, but am still really straining to read your posts. Just a thought. :-)