Big Brother Is Looking Over My Shoulder

The terrorist’s assault began slowing – a simple email here or maybe an envelope with happy, healthy active people on the front a few weeks later. Soon I even found myself getting an invitation to join a discount club claiming to be for individuals “just like you!”

Who do these people with AARP think they are?

I’ve always known achy joints, sporadic memory loss, and moments of confusion were just a few of the generally accepted challenges I might face as I continued to age. But being the focus of a multi-million dollar organization’s targeted effort to enlist me into their “army” is something I never anticipated.

I remember the first time an email arrived inviting me to visit their website and look around.

“Gosh, AARP will send spam to anyone,” I said to myself.

Then came another. And another. In a short time, they were no longer blindly addressed to anyone in the cyber-sphere – they began to focus their message on me.

Big Brother, I realized, was alive and well.

But these folks at AARP are just for “old people”, right? Silver-haired folks who eat dinner between 4 and 6 PM at local restaurants, the same people who proudly ask for a senior coffee at McDonalds? Heck, I still wear jeans with holes in them – and I paid good money for them to be that way.

There is a saying “you are only as old as you feel”. Well, for me, that is a moving target. One day I might feel as if I’m thirty years old and the next, well, maybe 40 (there are actually days my wife might claim I’m fourteen). But overall, I never feel as if I’m ready to head out to pasture.

But then something odd began to happen. These people showing up on the emails and envelopes began to look “not so old” in my eyes. Some actually looked like some of the people I hang around with on the tennis court, golf course or grab lunch with during the week.

This week I read Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones rock band, is now 69-years old. James Bond – or the film series I should say – is turning 50 years old this month. Even iconic automobiles of my youth (Camaros, Mustangs, and Challengers) are now updated and reissued. What does this mean?

Well, maybe these folks at AARP are getting between my ears. Maybe they know something I don’t – or want to admit to myself.

A couple weeks ago I found myself in a cool little coffee shop in downtown Chicago with my brother when he gently helped me with my growing acceptance of my age.

“Hey,” he said, “how does it feel to be the oldest person in here by at least a decade or so?”

Looking around I noticed he was right. We were swimming in a sea of hipsters – scruffy beards, earth tones, thick-rimmed glass frames – all sprinkled with an occasional hat never designed for promoting a sports team or product. Laptops and smartphones outnumbered salt and pepper shakers.

And then it hit me as my mind wondered if I might be able to get a senior discount on this four-dollar cup of coffee?

The terrorist are winning.

– 30 –


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