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So, it has come to this

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By Jennifer M. Latzke

It's no secret that reporters get odd things in the mail.

Really. I once got a 9-pound chunk of used tractor tire that had been neatly wrapped and shipped to me as part of a marketing package about corn stalk damage to equipment.

But opening my mail a while back I discovered a little mass marketing gem--my invitation to join AARP, and at the practically ancient old age of 35.

Look, I don't know who's in charge of mailing lists over there, but I think retraining is in order.

OK, fine. So maybe I've had moments lately when I've acted a little older than my age. But, really, I ask you, is it so wrong to pass up an outdoor music fest that promised to be hot, sweaty and filled with chaos in order to spend the day shopping at a home improvement sale? I mean, you should have seen the sale prices on landscaping materials and plants. They had this darling little sprinkler set up that I've been eyeing for my front yard. It was a steal.

Truth be told, the only outdoor entertainment venue I'm interested lately in is my own backyard at my own home, where I never have to wait in line for a beverage or the bathroom. It's a happy little spot where I alternate cursing my inability to grow grass and cursing the elm saplings that are trying to invade every spring.

Plus there's no cover charge or security guards.

OK, maybe that's not the only instance that I've acted a little beyond my years.

The other day I actually passed up one of my favorite dishes because it's now too spicy for me. I had to accept I'm now at that age where my menu choices are decided by the amount of antacids I'll have to consume pre- and post-meal.

A hot night for me now consists of a mug of tea, cozy slippers, a night of CBS shows and a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. My Facebook home page now has more pictures of my friends' children and family vacations than spring break trips and singles' cruises.

And I've found myself on more than one occasion talking politics and economic policy with my friends--instead of fashion and gossip. I once used to watch the antics of young celebrities with humor and morbid curiosity. Now, I just wonder how their parents let them out in public acting like fools and in those outfits.

I used to be hip to the lingo of the day. Now, I have to consult Google to figure out what the kids are talking about. And, let me tell you, in my day we didn't talk like that in polite company.

Oh man, just what have I done? Maybe it really is time for the good old AARP membership committee to come out and assimilate me into the collective.

You know, I hear it's rather nice. You get a cuddly afghan, a matching cardigan and a yard sign for a conservative politician. And, you quickly get used to eating at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. For a minor upgrade fee I can even reserve my place on a bus trip to scenic Las Vegas hosted by Wilford Brimley.

Where do I sign up?

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or jlatzke@hpj.com.

Date: 11/18/2013



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