I'm a child of the Yellow Smiley-Face '70s.
However, one letter wiped that pop culture expression off my face. Actually it took three words: Welcome to AARP.
Somewhere a Pet Rock weeps.
I rarely find opening junk mail an eye-opening experience. The letter from AARP not only caught my eye, it dropped my jaw. I had gone from 40-something parent of a pre-teen to bald-man-driving-little-red-sports-car midlife crisis.
Time hasn't always been kind, but my retirement years are multitudinous minutes away.
However, my letter from the Office of the Chief Executive Officer clearly stated "our records show that you haven't yet registered for the benefits of AARP membership, even though you are fully eligible."
It didn't add up. Someone down at AARP misplaced a decimal point or accidently carried the 1. Right now an extra-t Garrett Leiva in Zephyrhills, Fla., is fuming by his mailbox.
Most days I do feel closer to 55 than 25. Bumps, bruises and run-ins with a misplaced youthful mind-set take longer to heal.
My 40-yard dash out to the newspaper box in bare feet and boxer shorts has also slowed a step. I get winded chasing after my fleeting youth; a 10-year-old girl on a pink scooter is surprisingly quick.
I'm certainly not the only '70s relic mistakenly put on AARP's mailing list. The following should expect membership invites any day:
- Bert and Ernie (one might even qualify for the free spouse/partner membership)
- H.R. Pufnstuf
- The Bugaloos
- The Bay City Rollers (even though the band was from Scotland)
- Wheelie and the entire Chopper Bunch
- Bean bag chairs
- Punk rock
- Nerf balls
Admittedly, AARP makes aging almost cool. Its magazine features articles on great motorcycle rides and cover boys like Denzel Washington and Tommy Lee Jones. I'd still take Denzel or Tom to have my back in a bar fight — or a scuffle at the shuffleboard court.
It's been overstated that age is not a number, but a state of mind.
This platitude is often found between the "Getting Older" and "Old Fart" sections at the greeting card shop.
I prefer the Billie Burke mantra. The actress, best known as Glinda the Good Witch in "The Wizard of Oz," said age "doesn't matter unless you're a cheese."
Perhaps I will take AARP up on its mass-mailing offer. After all, I'm fully eligible — if you ignore the 50 and older fine print.
It would be handy if my AARP card arrived before our vacation next month. I could save on airfare, hotel reservations, even car rental.
Instead of a cheap compact vehicle, I'd opt for the midlife crisis Mustang — a red, bald guy hair-dryer model.
Just imagine the reaction of the Millennial kid behind the Hertz counter when I whip out my Generation X AARP card.