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.
6 responses to “Sharon, Paul, Bob and Me”
I’d be splitting my sides with laughter if only I wasn’t so terrified. Ah, to be seven again when being married was all about smooching, and being old was all about living in a funny-smelling house.
Well Marianne, as a matter of fact I don’t have a clue what dog food costs. I don’t have a dog and don’t want one… But some of those commercials sure make the food look good… I hope you are right about Social Security. But I fear the worst. I do. I am already angry based on the almost forgone conclusion that when it’s my turn in 20 plus years, it’ll be cat food for me… but if it’s really as expensive as you say, I guess I could just eat out of the dumpster and live with my kids….. heh heh
What’s all this about eating dog and cat food? Do you have any clue what pet food costs these days? My cat’s food costs more than my own!
Seriously, I don’t think that Social Security or Medicare is going to take the hit many fear. Social Security is the sacred cow. If they gut Social Security, there will be another American Revolution. And if you think those angriest about it will be too old to fight, forget it. It won’t be the 80-years-olds who will be angriest. It will be the next generation down, and the one after that — the ones who will not only have to pay more toward their own Social Security benefits, but also kick in more to support their aging parents.
I hope you are right, Marianne. But I believe that the Republican leadership is dedicated to wiping out the safety net for everyone in favor of business interests — let the market decide. Let the market work for Medicare — when in fact the market worked so poorly in the 1950s and 60s that Medicare became absolutely necessary. Republicans have been trying to gut it ever since. They won’t be able to gut either Medicare or Social Security totally, they will chip away at it, until both die because they can no longer work they way they are supposed to.
But funnily enough, there are ads on this page (the gmail comment location, that is) for dog and cat food. We can stock up now and beat the rush!
Social Security and Medicare are the only safety nets keeping the remnants of “The Greatest Generation” from living in abject poverty. Fifty-four-and-a-halfs and younger will be required to pay more, in times of escalating costs. And only a small percentage has factored that into their family finances. We will be eating dog and cat food and dying younger of preventable causes because of Republican philosophy gone wild.
I am disappointed in AARP. But I should’ve known when I saw Sharon on the cover.
Super funny but now I am super pissed off. As a 41 year old, I am a bit of a ways off (but not that far) from receiving my first AARP magazine. To hear that they are now getting behind the rising wave to f*%k our aging population over is disgusting, short sighted, and sinister. But this is the wave of the future, don’t ya see? and I guess AARP is just riding this wave… thus Sharon Osborne as its cover girl. What is the proposal instead? When we start seeing an increase in production of dog and cat food, be afraid….er. I thought AARP was supposed to protect the rights of an aging populace, something that most of us, if we are lucky, will be part of at one time or another. I’ve never been one for groups; I have a hard time being a member of any group because at some point, they will let you down and not really represent you….So at this point, with this major shift in endorsement by the AARP, what is its utility? You may want to reconsider your membership…
How about instead of throwing the babies (or in this case-the seniors) out with the bath water that somebody actually fix something for g-d’s sake? If Social Security is going broke, FIX IT. If there is too much Medicare fraud, FIX IT. Maybe stop lending billions of dollars to countries that hate our f*&king guts and then we have to borrow it back from them…. and invest it in saving programs that with a little tweaking can be FIXED. The people in charge are short sighted, ill advised and on a wrong trajectory….I say, don’t get rid of or deny people the few social programs that actually make sense. People have worked too hard in this country to face retirement with a big boot up their asses and a shrug.
By the way, I enjoyed the glimpse of your childhood playing Mrs. Beatles with your friends in the apple trees.
And… .thanks for working me up this morning. It is Saturday and it isn’t even 7:00 yet…