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Getting Old Is Hell


Anymore, most of the mail we get is junk - unsolicited pleas about this or that credit card, special offers, invitations to free dinners to hear financial expertise. No strings attached, of course. Yea, of course. My husband and I usually throw these straight in the recycle bin. But the mailing that asked us to consider a visit to the Motorized Chair Store really got our attention. My husband and I got separate solicitations with our full names on the envelopes. Yikes! What wise guy thinks we need scoot-around chairs? Inside the envelope was a cleverly written Personal Mobility Assessment to help determine if this power chair was for us. As if we wouldn't have any idea we're having problems getting around. But then again, there probably is some correlation between mobility issues and dementia--thus, justification for the assessment. The print size was huge. The Motorized Chair Store didn't want anyone to have to hunt for their reading specs. Included was a return form asking for a phone number so someone could hound us. If we return the form, we'll get, absolutely free, a Puzzles and Games booklet. This all seems premature since assisted living hasn't even crossed our minds. We're not even old enough for senior citizen discounts. OK, as if this offer wasn't bad enough, the next day my husband received a letter telling him he had been selected to participate in a new technology release event, exclamation point. Wow, hearing aids that moonlight as headphones! Lordy. At least I didn't get that one. But, then again, my joy could be soundly dashed when I get my mailing next week. I remember our dear, sweet neighbor, Frank Gless, hobbling down the street, telling anyone who'd listen that "getting old is hell." These mailings aren't exactly hell, but they certainly are warnings that old age is right around the corner. At seven years old, twelve seemed mature. At twelve, eighteen was ancient. We were so anxious to grow up - couldn't wait to drive the car, get a job, go off to college. Now we want to s...l...o...w everything down. We're buying anti-aging face cream, increasing our vitamin and supplement intake, and, now, finally, plodding away on the treadmill. But as the hill gets steeper, the parking brake loses its sticking power. So, what are we to do? I always say to convince people you're younger than you really are, just act immature. Obviously, the Motorized Chair Store folks haven't seen my act. All they saw was that I signed up for AARP, big joke to do when you're fifty. Now that joke is haunting me. I suppose my husband and I should be grateful that we are on the getting-old-soon list so we can stay abreast of new-fangled equipment and opportunities for the elderly. It is inevitable--the day will come when we're thrilled to be powering down the street, able to hear almost everything. Mary Struble Deery is a retired advertising executive in Charlotte. She would not reveal her age.