For those of you who would just as soon forget how old you are, AARP has taken on the job of reminding you. Using privacy-invasion skills that surpass even the NSA’s, the Association for the Annoyance of Retired People—you’re pretty sure that’s what the acronym stands for—knows your age and address before you’ve even heard of them.
How does AARP know where we live? The must have that FBI equipment that can locate a concealed criminal by reading his/her body heat. That’d be a no-brainer tool for finding menopausal women.
Whatever their method, the day you turn 55, not a minute later, you receive a letter from them welcoming you to the age when everything turns to shit. You see the word “retirement” on the envelope along with images of laughing people who are much older than you believe you are and you tear the letter into tiny pieces which flutter to the ground along with your expletives.
AARP’s cheerful reaction is to send you more letters. Like those water buckets in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice or like The New Yorker, they come relentlessly, overwhelming you and your mail carrier. Exhausted, you resort to merely ripping the letters in half, sans cursing, and tossing them wearily into the recycler.
For years, the organization continues merrily in their pursuit of your attention, which of course is waning due to the precipitous mental decline AARP says affects people your age. Then one day, they shoot you an article on arthritis, a condition you have developed due to tearing up so much damn mail. You read it.
Their next letter features a piece on doing yoga in a chair, which is right up your lazy ass alley. You read that one, and the letter that follows. (They had you at “Teeth Whitening Tips.”)
You begin saving their letters in a binder. It has taken some time, but even though not retired, you are pretty much in synch with AARP’s message. You visit their website. There are those laughing old people again, all over the home page. You look at them, then at yourself in the mirror.
In the search bar, you type, “martini recipe.” They offer you a choice of fifty-two. You smile. This is your kind of organization.