Clippings: Aging brings quirky benefits

It seems like only yesterday that my grandmother drove me down to the federal offices in Portland, Maine, to get my Social Security card. This American kid — who had lived abroad for several years — was finally “legal” to get a job, sock away some retirement benefits, and perhaps get drafted into the military.
I still have that original card with my crudely scripted autograph on the front. Wars have (unfortunately) come and gone, and without a draft, so I’ve never had to be a bumbling liability on the battlefield. And retirement? Still a long ways off, though I recently received another card that gave me my first stark reminder that I’m closer to the proverbial golden watch than the new desk.
My first-ever American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) card arrived in the mail the other day. You really can’t decline it. It’s kind of a wake-up call (you know, we older folks like our naps), reminding us that we’ve survived the half-century mark and that we’re now playing the back nine of life’s golf course, but hey — you can get some discounts with that graying hair.
I’m exaggerating, of course, for comedic effect. We “oldsters” have paid our dues and have earned the “real possibilities” emblazoned on our AARP cards. The card promises, among other things, “relaxing, reaching, romance and rock ’n’ roll.” Trouble is, at 51, I’m not quite old enough to be able to relax too much, romance can be a reach in a two-person working household and I have to go to an oldies station to hear what I consider to be rock ’n’ roll.
But further scrutiny of the AARP benefits package reveals some nice perks, from the practical to the somewhat frivolous.
You can get cheaper rates for health, auto, dental and homeowners’ insurance, as well as discounts on prescription medications. British Airways and a number of hotel and motel chains offer reduced pricing for AARP members.
On the more gratuitous side, I can now save more than 15 percent should I decide to attend Cirque du Soleil and get a rebate at Denny’s, where a “Big Slam” breakfast is likely to put me in need of my lower-cost health care. I can get discount coupons for a wide variety of Kellogg’s bran cereals, because let’s face it, we seniors need all the bran we can get to keep our plumbing in order. If I buy a large or extra large beverage at Dunkin’ Donuts, I can get a free donut, which I’ll eat between frequent trips to the restroom to get rid of my extra large beverage.
For those of us raised with typewriters, pens, paper, stone tablets and chisels, our AARP membership affords us access to reduced-rate services from the Geek Squad to troubleshoot our pesky computers.
Since we spend a lot of time in our La-Z-Boys, “Movies Unlimited” is offering us a 10-percent discount on the purchase of “classic” movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-Ray. I am wondering if the company’s definition of “classic” is “The Jazz Singer” and “Citizen Kane,” or something more recent and in color…
The MGM Grand offers us oldsters a 10-percent reduction on stays at a number of its casinos, so that we can save a little while gambling away our children’s inheritance. And several car rental companies offer us reduced rates, even though we tend to back up without looking and leave the blinker on for 10 miles after turning.
Being 50-plus also has its advantages closer to home. The National Bank of Middlebury’s New Horizons Club offers a variety of discounts at Addison County businesses, along with seminars and trips aimed at a mature population. And in another few years, I’ll be able to qualify for that reduced admission to Mount Abe high school football games the ticket vendor has been offering me (to my chagrin) for the past four years.
So I guess passing the half-century mark isn’t turning out to be as traumatic as I thought it would. While I might not age gracefully, at least I’ll do it with a few more bucks in my wallet.

Share this story:

More News

Bernard D. Kimball, 76, of Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — Bernard D. Kimball, 76, passed away in Bennington Hospital on Jan. 10, 2023. … (read more)

News Uncategorized

Fresh Air Fund youths returning to county

The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)

Obituaries Uncategorized

Mark A. Nelson of Bristol

BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)

Share this story: