I am an AARP gal. I qualify, if you haven't noticed. Boy, do they come after you hard with their membership crusade. Months in advance they soften you up to the knowledge that you will soon QUALIFY and turn the big 5-0. I finally succumbed on my birthday, and, although rattled, paid my $16 and thought NOW I can get that popcorn deal at the movies. You know the one with the special bag and medium drink, the one you see in droves at movies like "Quartet."

Turns out I was more rattled than I thought. My birthday is right around Thanksgiving which is right around the time I finalize my holiday letter. Ya gotta be careful finalizing anything while rattled, but clearly holiday letters, where a brag might turn into a rag and where I always make at least one error (this year I managed to print the thing upside down, with little inverted stockings). I was so rattled I sent page one for that year and page 2 in a separate file to the printer. Only page 2 turned out to be for 2007 and this was 2010. And the stockings were right side up on expensive fancy paper! So I just EXPLAINED at the top of the real page 2 and realized that that is exactly what it means to be 50 — fast, furious, half right and unapologetic.

That's pretty much how AARP sees it, I think. Truthfully, I don't know the group's politics, so maybe I am not in sync as much as I think. I do read their newsletters though. People I recognize are on the front! Not some rapper with one name (OK, Cher does not count). We're talking Harrison Ford and Michael J Fox. Articles on dealing with mom's Parkinson's and Social Security calculators. Movie reviews where I don't have to double-check the ratings (I am sorry, but "Magic Mike" looked like a romantic comedy in the trailer to me! My husband about passed out, but that's another story.)

In a world where ‘folks our age’ are clearly not the 'target demographic,' it's easy to feel a little lost in entertainment trivia, with the latest gadgets, even what happened to the favorite store in your hometown. AARP offers at least an anchor in the sea of change and a little encouragement that you're not alone with your colonoscopy. And hey, it's still a newsletter with real pages and ads for ... what is that? I did not know they made an instructional video for that …? (I can't say more in a family newspaper, but it's worth the subscription just to see the advertisement and think of those lucky actors our age!)

Oh, it’s great to the right age to qualify for AARP!

Lori Sweeney is not a paid AARP spokesperson, unfortunately, but an aficionado of newspapers and magazines, cultural icons that might die with our generation if not for hearing aid advertisements.

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