When Sharon Osborne, wife of Ozzie, appeared on the cover of AARP Magazine, I should have known changes were coming at the Association of American Retired People. I should have been afraid. I should have opted out. I should also have realized I have not yet retired.
But I’ll admit that I did not see today’s news coming – that AARP would ever agree that Social Security can be cut. Drugs must be involved in both decisions by AARP. And we are not talking about legal substances.
Tonight, I’m embarrassed to admit that I am a member of AARP. A reluctant member of AARP, but a member nevertheless. You know those commercials that are playing now? The ones with Betty White, talking to me and other reluctant middle-aging folks who don’t really want to be in AARP, telling us to “GET OVER IT.” Well, recently I did get over it. Betty White didn’t convince me. But still, I joined.
Shit. Why didn’t I listen to Woody Allen and not join any organization that would have me? Maybe it was because he was stealing the line from Groucho Marx.
But it was the magazine that seduced me. Or rather, it was the cover boys who did.
When I reached my 50th birthday, AARP sent me Paul McCartney – Paul was my very first crush! How did they know? It’s a little bit scary that they knew about me and Paul, but I figured they’d sent me a sign in a good, wholesome way — I mean, they didn’t send me Ringo.
When I was seven years old, the Beatles had just been on Ed Sullivan, and for months afterwards I used to play “Married Beatles” with my friends, Laura, Lucy and Lisa. They were sisters who had four wonderful apple trees in their yard, and we each got a Beatle whom we could keep in our individual tree and with whom we could smooch. Hey, I was seven. I didn’t realize that there could be better things to do with Paul in that tree. Well, we fought for Paul, and somehow I usually won him. (John’s marriage to Cynthia was something we knew, even at that age, wouldn’t last. And Yoko would have confused the hell out of us.)
So when I got that first magazine, I knew my days of holding out against aging, against AARP, against Paul, were numbered.
And then came other heartthrobs: Harrison Ford. An adult crush. Bob Dylan, an early hero.
Robert Redford, my early teen crush, appeared in January to help me celebrate my 54th birthday. He sealed the deal. I’d had a crush on him before he was even a star, when he was in Inside Daisy Clover and This Property is Condemned with Natalie Wood, before he’d so much as met Paul Newman. And Robert hasn’t aged too well, either. So he makes me feel better about that, too. The list of the crushes of my life goes on across the cover pages of AARP Magazine. The list for men is equally impressive, but that’s for them and their apple tree memories.
And so on my 54th birthday as I read the interview with Robert (or Bob as I called him in my later day apple tree-equivalent), I thought:
“You know, this organization is doing good things.”
And I continued to think (hey, I can multi-think!): “They will protect me in my dotage, when I need Social Security and Medicare!” And so I joined.
So imagine my surprise when I got this month’s issue: Sharon Osborne was on the cover. I can say with absolute certainty: I never had a crush on Sharon. I never had a crush on Ozzie. In fact, I never quite understood why anyone would spend their time with either of them without mind altering drugs.
So as an official AARP member, I have a question:
Who put Sharon Osborne on the cover of AARP?
Probably more importantly, however, are these questions:
Who the HELL at AARP decided that it is okie dokie to
(1) totally abandon their position on Social Security and Medicare that AARP has held since the Civil War (“LEAVE IT THE FUCK ALONE!” is what I recall seeing on their posters and position papers);
(2) screw over AARP’s entire middle-aging clientele, including newly minted and especially funny bloggers, and
(3) support cuts in Social Security that will leave millions of elderly people in poverty in years to come?
The answer to these questions? They obviously inhaled. A lot. Residual effects from illegal drugs ingested between 1968 and 1978 have begun to take control of their minds. And that is not my fault. Don’t penalize me and my fellow middle-agers for your folly.
We middle-aging folks need to get a hold of the folks who are reconsidering their positions on Social Security and give them a nice California Chardonnay to clear their heads. Because we need the real folks at AARP to get back in charge.
Sharon and Ozzie will do okay without you. The rest of us won’t.