Traverse City Record-Eagle


August 6, 2012

Garret Leiva: Old before my time

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
  • Sea-Monkeys
  • The Bugaloos
  • The Bay City Rollers (even though the band was from Scotland)
  • Wheelie and the entire Chopper Bunch
  • Bean bag chairs
  • Atari
  • 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.

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