Monday, June 15, 2009

Ask Not For Whom the Card AARPs -- It AARPs For Me...

It's h-e-r-e ("Stay away from the light Michael James, stay away from the light")!

There are no bodies popping out of the ground in the back yard (we bury 'em deep here in Vestal). But, as I type this, I see the AARP card application on the dining room table 'winking' at me through its little plastic casket of an envelope.
Being up for a mystery on a Monday morning, I decided to open said casket and determine what 'horrors' awaited me. I opened the casket and the bones fell out. The folks at AARP were nice enough to include a Temporary Membership Card (I guess they figure that 'time's a wastin' and I need all the benefits I can get, as SOON as I can get them, now that I've turned the BIG 5-0.) Or maybe, they're getting it to me early so I'll remember getting it -- while I still 'get it'.

Whatever the reason, the American Association of RETIRED People believes that I should be a member of their fine organization.But I'm left here wondering... Why?

a.) I AM an American citizen (now that that pesky Homeland Security 'Audit' is completed)

b.) I AM associated with other people by virtue of my employment.

c.) I AM a 'people' (I need to rather loosely define the word 'people' since other than sharing DNA with some other folks on the planet, I don't really know anyone else quite like me -- this, for all of your sakes, is a good thing)

d.) But (and this butt is HUGE), I am NOT retired.

So, how can I belong to an organization for which I don't even meet the components of the NAME of the organization?

This, I believe, requires more in-depth research...WHY should I become a member (according to the cover letter (which also doubles curiously as an Invoice))?

1.) AARP is fighting for MY American Dream! (Whoa, what a lofty goal!)
2.) AARP offers information and resources (A 'magazine')
3.) AARP discounts on travel and other services (But I don't GO anywhere...)
4.) AARP access to health-related benefits (Benefits I can BUY as a member)
5.) AARP access to financial programs (Benefits I can BUY as a member (i.e.: Motorcycle insurance -- yeah, like I'll need THAT...))
6.) AARP community programs and services (Safe driving course and 'volunteer opportunities'! But, I 'volunteer' now... Would I have to get this approved by the AARP in the future?)

So for $16 per year ($43 for three years OR $$63 for five years) I too can be a card-carrying AARP member!

But here's the thing (there's always a 'thing' isn't there?): AARP is MOSTLY a lobbying organization. (Although their lobbying efforts are sometimes deferred while they sell eye, life, health, dental, motorcycle, and other 'group insurance policies' to their members.)

And according to the folks at Wikipedia: "Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus founded AARP in 1958. AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), which Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging, and in response to the need of retired teachers for health insurance. After ten years, Andrus opened the organization to all Americans over 50, creating AARP.

Today, NRTA is a division within AARP. According to Andy Rooney, AARP was established by insurance salesman Leonard Davis in 1958, after he met Ethel Percy Andrus. Ms. Andrus was at the time helping teachers get health insurance through the National Retired Teachers Association. According to Rooney, Davis saw the opportunity to sell medical insurance to the elderly rather than just retired teachers and for that purpose put in $50,000 establishing AARP.
According to Rooney, Davis established the Colonial Penn Insurance Co. in order to control AARP, selling millions of dollars in insurance to its members through advertisings in AARP's magazine Modern Maturity and for several years Colonial Penn Insurance Co. became one of the most profitable in the U. S.

In 1978, after a 60 Minutes report exposé, AARP got rid of Colonial Penn Insurance Co. and signed up with Prudential Insurance Co.[3]"

Super -- a teachers union and insurance company joined together to create AARP? Two of my favorite things - joined genetically by a single philosophical premise: To take money from old people (like me)...

That's just wrong.

Borrowing a few words from GROUCHO MARX:
"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member..." and,
"Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough. "
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