The other day, I received something in the mail that was so horrifying, so disturbing, so utterly disconcerting that I had to go into my office and hide for a while to regain my composure. No, it wasn’t a death threat from some wacked-out antivacccinationist. Nor was it a scientific paper that was undeniable evidence that homeopathy works, water has memory, and I’ve been utterly and completely wrong about alternative medicine lo these last few year.

It was much, much worse. It was this:



I’m not 50 yet! I still have a few years to go before AARP, screening colonoscopies, and senior discounts at the movies!

Bastards. Can’t they let me enjoy the last half of my forties in peace?

Hmmm. The car insurance deals look pretty good, though…


  1. #1 MBA
    June 8, 2008

    Just ask them to remove you from their mailing list. I plan on never joining the AARP. I don’t agree with their populist agenda regarding seniors and medicine.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    June 8, 2008

    Hey, I got my first one when I was in my middle thirties.

    I think the AARP gets its membership rolls from high schools. The more people that they can claim as members, the more clout they have in Congress.

  3. #3 MRL
    June 8, 2008

    Isn’t is seriously unethical for them to add you to their roster without your consent?

  4. #4 NickG
    June 8, 2008

    I’m almost 40, but you and I will be getting a scope at about the same time (mom and maternal GF both had colon cancer.) I still get carded for beer and I’m going to have do the supersize golytely cocktail. So quityerbitchin about it coming at 50.

    At least you haven’t been offered a young woman’s seat on public transit.


  5. #5 hardindr
    June 8, 2008

    Don’t feel bad, Orac! I’m in my twenties and I get come-ons from the AARP all the time! I should probably apply when the next one arrives in the mail so I can get great deals at Denny’s!

  6. #6 PhysioProf
    June 8, 2008

    HAHAHAH! You’re an old fucking geezer!

  7. #7 GDad
    June 8, 2008

    So, Orac, are we going to see the time and date stamp on your posts stop around 7:00pm every night?

  8. #8 Oldfart
    June 8, 2008

    I don’t agree with their populist agenda regarding seniors and medicine.

    Just what IS a populist agenda anyway.

  9. #9 Mike from Ottawa
    June 8, 2008

    45 is the new 65

  10. #10 themadlolscientist
    June 8, 2008

    I don’t recall getting any AARP mail before I turned 50 (5 years ago), but I joined up at the first opportunity – even though I considered myself barely middle-aged – as much for a laugh as anything. But that membership card will get you all kinds of discounts, so it’s worth the $12 per year or something ridiculously small like that.

    The magazine can be a real crackup. Some time last year I was looking through the latest issue, and there was a photo of – you’ll never believe this – Jimi Hendrix!


    ZOMGZWTFBBQ! i wuz killd ded wif teh ROFLz! srsly. liek, mai breff. i no can catchz it. i can has oxijin? kthxbai.

    [turns blue, passes out]


  11. #11 Dr Benway
    June 8, 2008

    I learned something about bowel preps a few months ago when I had a hysterectomy: as a prepee, you must not say to yourself, “I’ll down this vile salty stuff at 6pm, get a load of laundry done, and answer that email I didn’t get to earlier.”

    You will not answer that email. You will not put wash in the machine. You will do nothing but serve your porcelain master, whom you cannot resist and who will call to you repeatedly until about four in the morning.

    You’ll make a futile effort to clean up again and again, just so you can leave the bathroom for a nice fifteen minute sit on the couch.

    For some strange reason, I never connected the notion “nearly unbearable misery” to the words “bowel prep” before my personal experience with the procedure.

  12. #12 yanub
    June 8, 2008

    That’s nothing. Keep an eye on the receipts you get to see if you are being given the senior discount. Then you are faced with a real dilemma. Do the ethics that require you to report being undercharged trump the embarrassment that results from having to argue that you are not as old as you apparently look?

  13. #13 andrea
    June 8, 2008

    Hah, I guessed right!

    Not quite there yet. Better not be; but I AM the only student in my class wearing bifocals.


  14. #14 decrepitoldfool
    June 8, 2008

    I chose my blog name as a joke years ago because people say I look young. But actual AARPitude crept up on me and I have this to say: that bowel prep stuff they give you is poison and it works because your body is doing its level best to get rid of it.

  15. #15 Badger3k
    June 8, 2008

    I was getting AARP spam when I joined the army – in my twenties. Now that I’m in my forties, I don’t seem to get any now. Weird.

  16. #16 Aerik
    June 8, 2008

    Haha! I’m sorry, Orac. The same thing happened to my parents. They’ll keep sending you junk, too, just you wait. I still never hear the end of it.

  17. #17 NickG
    June 8, 2008

    Dr Benaway: “You’ll make a futile effort to clean up again and again, just so you can leave the bathroom for a nice fifteen minute sit on the couch.”

    Ah, but that sounds like the mistake. I perfected the art of sleeping on the toilet in my final year of residency when I contracted old school bacillary dysentery. I refused to do the smart thing and stay in the hospital because the idea of crapping in an adult diaper (because we would eventually have gotten there) with the people with whom I worked was not something I was willing to entertain. So BF took me and a grocery bag full of NS, cipro, and phenergan home and I established my new home in our bathroom. (Fortunately our toilet was in a small U-shaped alcove which is required to make this work.) By the end of the first day, I had the entire thing filled on either side so that I was sort of wedged in there but didn’t have to support my body weight.

    The biggest problem (after making a path for a hand to get to the handle to flush amidst the wedging material) is the weight is still entirely on your buttocks. The first solution was one of those soft toilet seat covers that I only think of as being owned by people over age 80. That helps…. but it really only extends the time that you can sit before serious pressure builds up (both on the skin and the sciatic nerve). By 20 hours into it I was so exhausted, and it was really the pressure on the buttocks and the constant need to shift weight that was keeping me from getting any rest.

    So BF devised something which makes MacGyver look like an amateur: he went to walmart and came back with another of those soft seats, and strapped several BP cuff bladders to it with duct tape, then added another layer of egg crate. I thought he was completely nuts, till I tried it. And I can think of no other thing he’s ever done for me that was more amazing than the next several hours: in between changing my saline out he sat beside me and serially inflated and deflated the cuffs, shifting my weight so I wouldn’t have to and allowed me some restful sleep. Other than sacrificing your life for another, I can think of no greater selfless expression of love (remember what I was doing: by the time he rigged this up it was nearly constantly.)

    All totaled it was a pretty solid 40 hours before I was able to get up more than 15 minutes.

  18. #18 Dr Benway
    June 8, 2008

    NickG I can only say: holy fucking crap! Oh, and your BF is a mensch.

    When I was dating my husband, he would change the cat box just to be helpful. That’s when I knew he was a keeper.

  19. #19 blf
    June 8, 2008

    Fortunately, not living in the States, I don’t have to put up with the AARP. But I do recall reading (one of) their magazines yonks ago as a teenager in the States–one of my grandparents apparently was an AARPite. That was sufficiently long ago that I have only a dim recollection of the claptrap I read; the main thing that I now recall which annoyed me then (and does so even more now) was the promotion of the idea an AARPite should drive around the country in the biggest, pollutingest, noisest, RV they could afford. And that AARPites are universally white, conservative, and privileged. At the time I (crudely) compared them to the KKK; and whilst that was and is probably an exaggeration, comparing them to ExxonMobil may not be.

    I just briefly checked their website, and noted they now acknowledge the existence of some non-white-skinned, and non-christian, people. So maybe they are becoming less KKK-like. There also appears to be a few (token?) mentions of recycling–something I do not recall being possible the many yonks ago when I read their shite at my grandparents–but I find it hard to believe they have developed any environmental sense at all.

  20. #20 NickG
    June 8, 2008

    Dr Benway, Actually it was more bloody than holy. 😉

    BF is soon to be husband too. (We live in CA, so in 9 days I will make him an honorable man.)

    Though the catbox duty is up there as well. Especially un-asked or if you have more than one cat.

  21. #21 Calli Arcale
    June 8, 2008

    I remember when my brother got an offer to join the AARP. If memory serves, he was two.


    Spam, whether electronic or dead tree, casts a wide and thus often comically misdirected net. You’re not old, Orac. You’re bycatch. 😛

  22. #22 MBA
    June 8, 2008


    well, a populist agenda would be the fact that the AARP wants the government to foot the bill for virtually all senior medical expenses. I have yet to see where they would draw the line. Personally, I believe in less government — and while there should be some kind of saftey net for the indigent, not everyone is indigent or needs such help. Do what you wish, I will not be joining.

  23. #23 notmercury
    June 8, 2008

    I think I heard that AARP is sponsoring the current Foreigner tour.

    Seeing double, double vision? Check the bifocal prescription.

  24. #24 joemac53
    June 8, 2008

    Old guy,
    Don’t make fun of the colonoscopy. If it’s in your family, it’s in you somewhere. I turned 50 with some abdominal pain working on me. Six months later I was walking crabwise and could barely stand. CAT scan sees big growth, but blood doesn’t show cancer markers. Colon guy doesn’t want to go in, he might nick the big growth, and I would have to have “emergency surgery”. I wondered how much more of an emergency was required.

    But I’m still here, the healthiest guy who ever had cancer. Don’t screw around. Learn from Joe’s stubborn mistakes.

  25. #25 Monado
    June 8, 2008

    NickG, congrats on the upcoming wedding. Some of my friends and colleagues are gay, and their wedding was the most touching and sincere I’ve ever attended.

  26. #26 Jeb, FCD
    June 8, 2008

    Well, how about this:

    Lance peddling WOO!

  27. #27 Orac
    June 8, 2008

    Old news, I’m afraid. Lance has been peddling woo for a while now.

  28. #28 Magpie
    June 9, 2008

    I would have thought it’d be AWESOME if it was shown that water had memory. Staggeringly unlikely, but if it was true, man, it’d be a whole new field of research!

    The taste of crow would, surely, be improved by the sweet sugar of science! 😛

  29. #29 Jeb, FCD
    June 9, 2008

    Is there something other than this crap LA has been pushing? I’m surprised no one has blogged about it (that I’ve run across).

  30. #30 Oldfart
    June 9, 2008

    Not a member of AARP. Can’t afford them. I just wanted to know what you meant as populist. Seems you mean something like “socialist”. Thought it might be some new popularity contest thingy you were talking about.

    OTH, I have worked from the time I was 14 and could get my work permit in NY to age 62 when I was downsized. I have paid many many taxes in that time and spent 3 years in the Army during Viet Nam. As a result of that, I get VA health care and Medicare. But my 58 year old wife gets nothing. SO, go AARP!

  31. #31 SteveM
    June 9, 2008

    Lance peddling WOO!

    I see what you did there, cute. (only took me about 5 minutes to get it)

  32. #32 Marine Geologist
    June 9, 2008

    My trash used to be about 85% junk mail like this. Then I figured, instead of throwing away all those self addressed stamped envelopes, I’d send them back. But first I used a large red felt tip to write “DECEASED” on whatever application/offer they sent me. Cleared me out of a bunch of databases. And they did want the SASEs back didn’t they??

  33. #33 jayh
    June 9, 2008

    ” I’d send them back. But first I used a large red felt tip to write “DECEASED”

    There is a risk to that. There are actually quite a few people who’ve accidently gotten into credit reports or even government databases as deceased, and had major problems because of it.

  34. #34 jayh
    June 9, 2008

    ” And that AARPites are universally white, conservative, and privileged. ”

    Actually I would catagorize them as soft left. They are strongly Democratic (their recent flirtation with the Repubs on the prescription plan nearly caused a revolt) and they really want government to be paying their bills.

    But they’ll sign anybody, even Orac.

  35. #35 SteveM
    June 9, 2008

    Then I figured, instead of throwing away all those self addressed stamped envelopes, I’d send them back.

    I have heard that one can paste those envelopes to a box of “heavy stuff” and they are obligated to pay the postage. This was quite a while ago, so I don’t know if it still works that way.

  36. #36 phantomreader42
    June 9, 2008

    I started getting AARP membership offers at the age of 25. Not very good at paring down the mailing list, are they?

  37. #37 khan
    June 9, 2008

    “Used to be Rolling Stone,
    Wild and free;
    Now it’s Modern Maturity
    And AARP”

    “Used to be Rolling Stone,
    Oh what a thrill;
    Now it’s Modern Maturity
    And over the hill”

    -Tom Paxton

  38. #38 TheProbe
    June 10, 2008

    Youi think that is bad? Try having three pretty 20-somethings offer you a senior citizen discount on the same day.

  39. #39 khan
    June 10, 2008

    I had a 20-something ask me if I had a Golden Buckeye card (discount card for Ohio residents 60 and up).

  40. #40 Jacob Wintersmith
    June 11, 2008

    I wouldn’t worry too much about that. My brother started getting stuff from AARP when he was in Kindergarten.

  41. #41 Liesl
    July 9, 2008

    Guess what came in the mail today? Yup. I’m not even 40 for four more months, damn it!

  42. #42 HCN
    July 9, 2008

    Could be worse… I got a phone solicitation from a local mortician/cemetary when I was 24 years old…

    … sigh, that was 26 years ago.

  43. #43 Liesl
    July 9, 2008

    Oh, that’s just wrong. Oh dude! Just figured out why I probably got the AARP notice! I joined the Americans with Disabilities whatever it is organization. That has to be it, right? I mean, someone who uses the word “dude” can’t be old and isn’t simply deluding themselves, right?

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