Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Once I got an AARP membership registration in the mail.  I hear that you have to be 50 to join AARP.  The reason why I’ve only heard about it and don’t have any first-hand knowledge about it is because the AARP does not apply to someone like me.  I mean, I will be 50 someday, but not for DECADES.  Okay, a little over a decade, but still.  Anyway, upon seeing the letter, and after entertaining my neighbors with a loud string of profanities, I violently ripped open the envelope to see just what this 50-and-over club wants with me.  I was mad.  I do a good enough job of aging myself prematurely, thank you very much.  As if I need yet another reminder that I’m getting old, other than the obvious breaking down of my body and the cruel evidence I see in the mirror daily.

It got me thinking about how much solicitation I field every week by well-intentioned marketers trying to make a buck.  I am not opposed to being asked to buy a service or membership, but I also don’t hesitate to say “no” to something I don’t want or will ever need.  Free consultation for new windows?  No thanks, I’m good.  Set of kid-friendly encyclopedias?  Nope.  I got internet.  Eighteen-pack of microwave popcorn?  Not today, but you’re getting closer.

On a good day, I feel proud and accomplished when I get asked to participate in or purchase so many things.  They want me!  They really do!  They need my business!  I am doing my part to keep the economy going!  I actually have some power here!  On a bad day, I want to crush the solicitor’s soul with a snide comment, fistfight, or just plain old rude hang-up.

This was a bad day.

Of course I didn’t have anyone to rail against right in front of me, so I did what any sane person would do:  I called AARP.  I wanted to know just exactly WHY I was sent such a hateful letter, one which threw me into such a fit of denial and indignant disbelief.  Mostly, I wanted to stop any and all future solicitations to their one-foot-in-the-grave association.  I called the toll-free number on the offensive correspondence and hit all the appropriate buttons on the telephone (very few, it turns out) to get to a “live” customer service agent to give the poor unfortunate soul a piece of my very young mind.

 A pleasant woman (likely much younger than me, I have to admit) patiently listened to my incredulousness at receiving such a piece of mail, and quickly reassured me that my name had been on a AARP-purchased consumer list of people who fit certain criteria, most likely linked to recent purchases.  The organization did not identify me as someone who was over 50, but she would promptly remove my name from the list so I would not receive any more notices from them.  Temper receding, I uttered a small “thank you” and hung up the phone.  Blissful relief washed over me as I realized that the universe was not against me and my tender age.  I am actually as young and vital as I think I am. 

But what in the world am I buying that puts me on a shortcut to Old Timeyville?


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