LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth
|by Fay Jacobs|
|Apocalypse in 2012?
The headline on my computer screen said, "Thousands expect apocalypse in 2012." That's right, according to various survival groups, and based on a millenium-old Mayan ritual, the world will be kaput in less that four yearsspecifically on Dec. 21, 2012. I hope Chanukah comes early that December so I get my presents.
And frankly, if my political party doesn't take over the White House come November I tend to agree with the timetable.
Listen to this: in 2006, a book called 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, was published and has sold thousands of copies a month. That beats As I Lay Frying on Amazon by, well, thousands of copies a month.
And while authors disagree about what the heck to expect on that day in December I'm sure we will be easy prey as we all sit around trying to pronounce Quetzalcoatl.
Gee, if the schedule holds, no retirement for me. I just turned 60 and I'm officially in the first wave of 78 million baby boomersa huge demographic bulge (not me, personally, but there are days...) that will, hopefully, age better than our parents and grandparents did. At least we hope we will.
Not to be taken for a fuddy-duddy, I partied on my birthday like I was 30, but the sad truth is I woke up the next day feeling every bit of 60. From what I understand, I was led out of Aqua into a taxi. My own personal Armageddon, why wait for 2012?
And, although it happened five days later, I consider the following a belated gift. On the same day Former Senator Jesse Helms died, fireworks went off in Rehoboth. Coincidence?
I loved reading my birthday cards. Like the one that said, "Anything Worth Doing is Worth Over-doing." See previous paragraph regarding Armegeddon.
Forget about Last Comic StandingI think the most hilarious comedians are at Hallmark. "What do older women have between their breasts that younger women don't?"
"I've discovered the secret of eternal youth!" it said on the front of a card. Inside it advised, "Lie!"
Birthday cards have gone hi-tech. Knowing my youthful indescretion of marrying an accordion player, my friends delight in watching me twitch and squirm at accordion humor.
This year, I got a musical card (two of the same, in fact) featuring a song on the wretched instrument.
Of course, cards come with a myriad of age-related insults. "Forget Botox! At our age, formaldehyde is our only hope..."; "It's your birthday, don't just stand thereat least not without assistance;" an elderly woman on roller skates is accompanied by the sentiment "We've reached the age when looking hip can result in breaking one."
And my favorite was a talking card. "I was looking through cards trying to find one for your birthday and I was laughing so hard I...You open the card and hear "Clean up on aisle 6..." Ah, Depends humor.
I have to admit, though, a disturbing thing did happen on my birthday. I found myself driving in the middle lane on Route One with my left blinker on for no apparent reason. I knew I'd eventually become a doddering old fart but I didn't think it would happen this fast. Frankly, I'm glad that my birthday celebration at Aqua did not degenerate into the wearing of my birthday suit. Everybody give thanks.
But there seems to be good news on the horizon, Today, on CBS News online, there was yet another article on the aging of baby boomers, or in my case gayby boomers. "...signs suggest...that boomers will enjoy not just increased longevity but better health as well.
Boomers may be aging more slowly than previous generations because of healthy habits, such as less smoking and more exercise. Maybe 60 really is the new 50." Gee, I hope so. But that brings me to the next question. If we are going to live longer lives, how are we going to pay for them?
If I positively knew that the Mayan doomsday was coming, Mamma Mia could I have a great four years. Bring on the wine, women, song and Hostess Ho-Hos. But Quetzalcoatl, even if you could pronounce it, might not happen, and in that case, I have to figure out how long my money is going to last.
Perhaps as a result of this big birthday, or the fact that I'd put it off long enough, I spent an evening last week with a friend who understands the mysteries of Microsoft Excel. Despite the accompanying Margaritas, it was a sobering exercise.
Since CBS News told me there was a damn good chance of achieving it, we did a spread sheet with the assumption that my spouse and I would live until 100.
But according to the increasingly annoying CBS News article, boomers who retire at 65 need to have enough money to support themselves for 20 to 30 years, and in some calculations that means having $2.5 million in the bank.
Holy Quetzalcoatl, Batman! Don't make me laugh. Or there will have to be cleanup on Aisle 6.
Best we can figure, we can live pretty well until our mid-80s and then it's cat food in a ramshackle house on the shore for us. I think this was the plot of a recent Broadway musical.
I can see us now, sitting in our rocking chairs and staring at the navel between our breasts. With any luck I can still look at hers and she can still look at mine.
Although, if 60 is the new 50, maybe I can just wait a decade until I'm 60 again and worry about the spreadsheet.In the meantime I have to find a way to keep that left turn signal from blinking.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and Fried & TrueTales from Rehoboth Beach. Contact her at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 09 July 11, 2008