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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

AARP: A Warning for Boomers

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer's perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

If they want to attract me as a member, the AARP is going to have to do some serious image-rebuilding. Let’s start with the name. The “American Association of Retired Persons&lrquo; just does not fit with our generation, does it? Well, for a brief period back in the seventies, a few of their rebellious members called themselves the Gray Panthers. Kinda’ lame, isn’t it? Baby Boomers should be associated with real rock n’ roll, doing your own thing, Disneyworld, Simon and Garfunkel... not some fat, bald guy riding around on a 3-wheeled, motorized scooter with a golf club in one hand while sucking wind on an asthma inhaler. No... just no!


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[Editor’s note: A while back, Hershel warned us about that letter from the AARP. By now, most of us have received it. But the warning that Hershel provided is still valid. Boomers, pay attention.]


Well, you can’t say that nobody warned you. You can’t say you never thought it would happen to you. Because it will; I guarantee you; it will! I’m warning you... here and now. Bill Geist wrote about it in his book, “The Big 5-Oh.” I am talking about the most dreaded letter you have received since the draft board sent you that ominous note that began, “Greetings...” I am referring here to that letter from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) inviting you to join the ranks of... old people.

Somehow the AARP has tapped into the government files. Every morning they get a list of people about to turn 50. According to Geist, that amounts to one every 7 1/2 seconds. (Not that there is any significance to it, but I’ll bet that that is also the rate at which we lost our virginity back in the sixties.... or for me, the eighties.) Anyway, the AARP cranks out a letter to you scheduled to arrive on the very day you have been dreading for at least fifteen years. I think this constitutes piling on, and the AARP should be prohibited from sending you anything reminding you of your age for at least six months after you turn 50. (There’s a good chance you’ll be dead by then, anyway.) I’d suggest proposing such a law to Congress, but the AARP lobbyists have most every congressman in their back pocket, so it’s probably not worth the effort.

Anyway, they send you this cutsie letter telling you of all the benefits that accrue to... old people. There is strength in numbers, they remind you. For a mere $12 a year, you can become... an official old person. Well, $12 a year every 7 1/2 seconds amounts to a pool of new revenue for the AARP of about $33 million dollars per year. Over the next decade, that’s a third of a billion dollars in NEW revenue for the AARP. Even old people can count. Apparently they have figured that there is money in numbers, too. The AARP is positioning themselves for a bonanza the likes of which nobody has seen since Gerber Foods at the end of World War II. So you can see why we have the undivided attention of the AARP. Not that we want it.

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