By Michael Kaufman
I had hoped the annoying email from the AARP would stop after I didn’t renew my membership a while back. I should live so long. They are relentless. And just in case I don’t look at my email, they make sure to send regular reminders via the U.S. Postal Service. Those I don’t mind quite as much. I want Crystal, our letter carrier, to keep her job, along with all the postal workers around the country whose jobs are being threatened by the austerity hawks in Congress.
Really, I don’t need an AARP card to show that I qualify for the senior discounts. And lately I’m finding their emails at least as annoying as the letters I get from Publishers Clearing House announcing in big, bold type that I could be the next winner of their Grand Prize. Look closely and there is small type saying “no purchase necessary,” and “odds of winning Grand Prize: 300,000,000 to one.” At least the AARP gave better odds in their email last month when they wrote, “Michael, We’re Giving Away $25,000 in the Brain Health Sweepstakes – Enter for Your Chance to Win.” I didn’t read any further: Brain health isn’t my forte.
Then there was one that said, “Michael, Intimacy After 50: What’s Normal?” I have to admit I was tempted to read that one just to see what they had to say on the subject. I imagine they don’t think highly of whips and chains and such. That reminds me of my favorite line from Eating Raoul where Paul Bartel as Paul Bland says, “I’m into S&M and she’s into B&D and we met at the A&P.” I like that movie.
There was one in January: “Michael, For a Limited Time Save 40% on the AARP Driver Safety course.” And in February: “Michael, For a Limited Time Save 20% on the AARP Driver Safety course.” That would have really bugged me if I were going to take a driver safety course and I’d missed out on that 40% off deal. There was another in March: “Michael, For a Limited Time Save 30% on the AARP Driver Safety course.” Now I’m waiting for that 40% off to come around again. When it does I’m going to jump on it. (I told you brain health isn’t my forte.) I figure you can never learn too much about safe driving.
The one on March 29 was kind of spooky: “Michael, Why Do Couples Split after 25 Years or More?” I didn’t look at that one either but I suppose they split for the same reasons couples split after fewer than 25 years. But the thing that was spooky about it is that Eva-Lynne and I would soon be celebrating our 25th anniversary. Was AARP trying to tell us something?
And then there was one that resembled a headline in the National Enquirer: “Michael, You Can Prevent Arthritis with These 7 Tips.” I have no idea what the tips are but it is way too late for me to prevent arthritis. I’ll tell you this though: If AARP can come up with some tips that will cure arthritis, I might consider renewing my membership. But for now I’ll pass.
At a time when issues of vital concern to seniors, when Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are on the chopping block, AARP sent, “Michael, These Inns Are So Fancy You May Never Want to Leave Your Room.” The accompanying text describes “Quaint inns for the astute and deep-pocketed traveler.” Of one, AARP wrote, “Countless repeat guests don’t blink at the $1,260-and-up nightly tab, which includes three sumptuous, made-to-order gourmet meals each day; plentiful outdoor activities, from snowshoeing to flyfishing; and personalized service that extends to round-trip transfers from distant airports.”
I replied to that one April 27: “Shame on you, AARP.” So far they haven’t answered.
Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.