Shopping cart by AARP


By Marla Boone

Contributing columnist

You know, I missed it coming and going. When I was very young, adults had all the perks and all the fun. They got to run the TV, run the household, run the world. Now that I’m approaching the town limits of Codger-ville, kids get all those goodies. Maybe not running the world, but I don’t see how they could do a much worse job than the adults are doing. Yup. Missed it both ways.

It’s bad enough getting old. What really hurts are the comments people make about it. “You’re not getting older; you’re getting better.” What we need is someone to explain how arthritic joints are better than ones plump with cushiony cartilage. There is a horrifying word for what happens to bodies as they age: sarcopenia. Doesn’t that sound yummy? There isn’t a syllable there that doesn’t ring of something dire about to occur. It’s from the Greek that literally translates to “flesh poverty.” Trying putting a happy “better” face on that! (For those that just can’t get enough bad news, sarcopenia is defined as the progressive and unstoppable loss of generalized skeletal muscle mass and strength.) We’re also supposed to get wiser with age but it appears we get the brain equivalent of sarcopenia, too. You don’t have to play pickleball for more than fifteen minutes to discover there are about three in twenty who can remember the score. I can’t play worth a darn but, by golly, I always know just how badly I’m losing.

Just about the time I learned about my body’s betraying me, the first letter from AARP arrived in my mailbox. Talk about a bad day. First you suspect you’re aging badly and then hard-copy proof is delivered via the U.S. Postal Service. AARP is inexpensive to join and you do get some good discounts (further proof of coot-dom…gotta clip those coupons). And then there is the magazine. Actually there is both a magazine and a brief soft-sided flyer with all the latest gossip about the Geritol set. The magazine is called “Modern Maturity.” It is supposed to celebrate the process of aging but every single month its cover features some person of renown who has either had some very good work done or who has been air-brushed to within an inch of their microscopic pores.

The flyer usually has some pertinent tips about how not to get scammed on the phone or what’s new in Medicare. But you know there are pages to fill and sometimes the editors have to get creative (read: desperate). This month it is (and I swear I am not making this up) “What’s in your shopping cart?” It’s supposed to describe what five notables (their word, not mine) like to eat. This is how far out of the loop I am: I did not recognize two of the five old people featured in an AARP article. I’m not only as old as they are, I’ve now been outed for not watching TV.

I don’t mind going to the grocery. I like fresh food and unless the garden is doing its thing (come on, spring), it’s the best alternative. But I never thought of grocery shopping as a spectator sport. All the notables (there’s that word again) claim they stock up on fruits and vegetables and go to Farmers’ Markets and don’t waste food and generally are the Mother Theresas of dining. We’re not here to judge, of course, and I hope you’re not either, but here is what’s in my cart. Right there along side the fresh collard greens is a 12-pack of Diet Coke. The strawberries are a little crowded by the graham cracker crust for key lime pie. Occasionally there are extra carrots for carrot cake accompanied by way too many bricks of cream cheese. If Ronald Reagan can call catsup a vegetable, I can call carrot cake a vegetable. And no one at AARP is the wiser.

PS Anyone who knows what the Geritol set means is definitely eligible for the senior discount.

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for Miami Valley Today.

No posts to display