Hell, no, I won’t go.
AARP has been harassing me. I once had a membership in the organization, thought it rather amusing when I was a mere 50 years old. But a number of years ago, I got fed up with them. (“Them” being those organizational wonks at AARP. Is it possible that the staff at AARP consists of a bunch of 20- year-old aggressive recent college graduates? You know the type—they live in group apartments on Capitol Hill and create instant crowds at all the trendy local restaurants. They are one paycheck away from moving back in with their parents.)
I quit AARP and never regretted the decision. I don’t want an AARP card that I can flash for a 10 percent discount at the Motel 6 in Coral Springs, Florida. I don’t want a free ice cream sundae on my birthday or a whopping 15 percent discount at Denny’s. Imagine how reasonable it would be if I moved into a Motel 6 in Coral Springs and ate all my meals at Denny’s! Let me calculate that—10 percent + 15 percent = I save 25 percent on meals and lodgings every day. I really don’t like Florida and I can’t recall ever eating at Denny’s but it sounds like one of the rings of hell.
Supposedly AARP lobbies heavily for the entitlements of seniors and they want to push the weight of the huge number of members in their ranks. I’m going to say something quite defiant here, something that is against my own financial interests: Maybe seniors don’t need huge entitlements. Yes, I believe we should get back what we contributed for Social Security and Medicare benefits over our working years—that was our insurance. Seems to me suppliers of medical care to the elderly are making obscene amounts of money providing services for old folks (hint—Medicare fraud) and that money is coming out of the pockets of taxpayers. Some older people may need extra help, but most of those I know in my age bracket don’t need benefits that would be better used on children in poverty instead of old people living in a senior residence that looks like the Taj Mahal.
But AARP doesn’t take no for an answer from me. They keep writing, sending birthday cards and little reminders of what I’m missing. I don’t miss the stupid magazine with a picture of Harrison Ford on the cover and large-print Sudoku puzzles. They aren’t luring me to rejoin with offers of tote bags or an inflatable travel pillow embellished with a bright red AARP logo. I’ve noticed that the cost of membership renewal keeps going down. Next time I fully expect them to send me a check for more than the price of renewal, if I’ll only come back.
In the early days, I was in the amusement phase—when I thought it was rather fun to be a member of an organization for seniors. That was when I would flash the card for 10 percent off the rental car and the smiling clerk would say, “Aw heck, ma'am, you’re kidding me. You can’t be old enough for AARP. My grandma belongs to AARP.” They don’t say that anymore. They automatically give me a senior discount without my asking. Damn. I hate that.
Now I’m in the rebellious phase—I don’t want to be pigeonholed into a category. I’m a child of the 60s. I might have a Che Guevera poster somewhere. I still flash peace signs at people and might participate in a sit-in somewhere. Sometime. If it’s not too hot or too cold and it’s in a nice location. I don’t want to demand a discount just because I’m old(ish).
Global warming is melting the polar ice. I once imagined that when I got old enough and unproductive, I would be put on an iceberg and would float away into non-existence. I’d better hurry before there are no icebergs.
And I do not, under any circumstance, want an AARP card. Leave me alone.