My shameful secret: I’m in the AARP

When people have a secret they consider shameful – a substance abuse problem, wearing women’s underwear even though they’re not a woman or seriously considering running for public office – they say it helps relieve guilt to reveal that secret. I think “they” tend to be full of shit, but let’s give it a whirl.

Brace yourselves: I am now a card-carrying member of the AARP.

I don’t remember joining, but I’m at the stage of life where I don’t remember a lot of stuff, like my kids’ ages. Swear to God when someone asks how old my kids are I cling to the fact that Matt – my oldest – was born the year the Royals won their first World Series; 1985.

So the fact that I can remember when a baseball team won a championship and use that to remind myself when my first child came into the world, makes me a horseshit father, but a helluva baseball fan.

After that it’s easy, because Michael came along two years later and Paul came along three years after that, which I’m about 75 percent sure is right – I’d have to check the baseball standings.

(OK, just realized that I’m more ashamed of the fact that I’m in the AARP than the fact that I can’t remember when the three people I love most in the world came into it. Wow, I really do suck and don’t need to be reminded, so lay the fuck off.)

Anyway, pretty sure my wife joined the AARP for both of us which is the same way I ended up with a Triple A card for roadside assistance, bought a house and started a family.

My weekly member update

This whole diatribe was generated by an email from the aforesaid AARP which they call a “webletter” and gives advice and information to people who are a bad week away from becoming completely senile and deciding to give up on their shitty present to go live in their much more tolerable past.

“See ya later, I’m mentally going back to a time where I got to date cheerleaders and could see my feet without bending over.”

This week’s AARP webletter’s featured story was “Phone Scam—How to Recognize a Robocall” which set off a chain of semi-related thoughts.

First thought: Jesus, could they make me feel any older and out of it? Maybe next week they could tell me how to program my VCR.

Second thought: Wait, they probably have done an article on that. I wonder where I could find it because that VCR in the family room has been blinking “12:00” on and off for five years.

Third thought: This article is stupid, you recognize robocalls by the simple fact that you’re not speaking to a human.

Fourth thought: But those robocalls are getting pretty sophisticated. Remember when the woman asked for your wife and when you said she wasn’t available the woman on the phone made a joke and you laughed politely right up until you realized you were sharing a human moment with a very sophisticated recording?

Fifth thought: Hey, enough people buy sex dolls that manufacturing them is an industry, so maybe you could sell imaginary friends to people who call their friendly robot whenever they get lonely. Have to look into that; secondary income is always welcome and maybe you could make enough to buy a really nice sex doll.

Sixth thought: I need to read the damn article.

Which I did.

The generation gap

This might seem unconnected, but hang in there; we’ll eventually circle back around to the main topic.

On May 11th, 2019 actress Peggy Lipton died which really freaked me out because women I considered smoking hot were now getting old enough to kick the bucket.

And if you’re a certain age you can’t think of Peggy without thinking of the Mod Squad, a series that ran from 1968 to 1973 and was produced by Aaron Spelling who was in his mid-forties at the time.

Apparently Aaron thought he was accurately portraying 60s counter culture by letting his actors wear shades, afros, and scarves tied around turtle necks while beginning or ending every line of dialogue with “man” as in:

“You just don’t get us, man”  or if the screen writer felt particularly edgy that week, “Man, you just don’t get us.”

Well, I lived through that counterculture and if Aaron had really wanted to get it right he would have made sure his actors had dirty feet, B.O. mingled with patchouli oil and said things like: “I am soooo fucked up…man.”

True story:

I was hanging out with John Jackman, lead singer and keyboard player for the Train, and if I remember correctly, his roommate at the time was the recently-deceased and all-around nice guy John Wallace and they had an apartment in Folsom, California. (If John Wallace wasn’t a roommate, my bad, but he hung out there a lot.)

One night after the Train performed, we partied in their Folsom apartment and as usual some people I didn’t know showed up to party with us. The next morning I woke up fucked up and walked into one of the bedrooms where my stuff was, to be greeted by this sight:

Two complete strangers – one female, one male – both with their pants around their ankles, passed out as they tried to perform the Horizontal Mambo. Both of them had dirty feet.

Put that shit in your Mod Squad, Aaron.

Time out for a barely-related story

OK, that story reminded me of another story and this one took place in Bob Nunes’ apartment when he was going to Sacramento State and had a roommate named Ernie. Ernie was a nice guy and his girlfriend – absolutely no memory of her name – was even nicer.

So one night Bob and I were trying to get to sleep – Bob in his bed, me on the floor – when we heard Ernie and Mystery Girl come back from a date and I urged Bob to be quiet, which paid off in spades.

Ernie and Mystery Girl tiptoed into the pitch-black room and had a sexual encounter in the bed right next to us which they thought we were sleeping through, but when M.G. told Ernie how great it was, I said:

“I bet you say that to all the boys.”

We laughed until our sides hurt and that included Ernie’s girlfriend which just goes to show she was a damn good sport and Bob Nunes and I were perverts…but really funny perverts.

Back to that Generation Gap

So after reading some of the AARP’s advice for the ancient – turns out it’s a bad idea to hide money under your mattress, hide it in your Model T instead – I began to wonder if there was a reverse generation gap at work.

Older people trying to write stuff that appeals to younger people always comes out lame; when younger people try to write for older people do they have the same problem?

Is the AARP staffed with a bunch of millennials who think writing articles about the best adult diapers for the Living Dead is speaking to their target audience?

So I went to Twitter and looked up the guy who wrote the Robocall article, hoping to see some highly-slappable twerp doing a duck-face selfie, but instead saw a picture of a guy who appears to be in at least his mid-fifties or a guy in his forties who really needs to get to a gym.

So at least on surface appearances, the guy has earned the right to hold forth on issues confronting those of us who are already semi-mummified. Totally fucked up my theory and the article I wanted to write which might have been inaccurate, but a lot of fun which also describes every action movie I ever watched.

But then I looked at how long the AARP writer had been on Twitter – since 2012 – and how many tweets he’d sent out – 22. So this guy is cranking out a solid three tweets a year.

Social media? He gets it, man.

That alone means this dude is old enough to give his peers advice unless they want to become Instagram models or figure out how to program that VCR.

I don’t know what we’ve learned today except I like to have my stereotypes confirmed, I’ve been a quasi- innocent bystander to some weird, counter-culture sexual encounters and I’m mortified by my membership in the AARP.

So don’t tell anybody…man.