Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Official - The Legendary Is Now A “Senior Citizen”

Robocall rang me up promptly today at 6 p.m. – prime time for seniors.

Imagine my delight when I heard an elderly voice chirping through the receiver and telling me the person talking at me from the surface of the Planet Mars is a “retired oil executive from Houston.”

I, too, hail from that quiet suburb of New Jersey, Houston, Texas.

It wasn't exactly money from home, but I perked up when I found out the old timer was calling to talk about that old mean green.

But the story got better and better as the call went on.

I am embarrassed to say that I have no idea what this person's name is. He kind of mumbled, then said he's a retired oil executive from Houston. That's all I really heard.


Just like the elderly Army Air Corps aviator from the B-47 program Bill Flores mentioned last night in his pitch to allow veterans to get their hearing aids at a private provider's office, I am just a touch hard of hearing.

Diesels. On tractors. Shrimp boats. Tugs. Semi-trucks. Generators. At certain resonant frequencies, I lose the thread of the conversation and it's either cup my hand to my ear, smile and do nothing, or wait for a lull in the conversation so I can say, “Huh?”

At any rate, the retired oil executive just flat-out fussed old Bill Flores because he wants to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, to privatize VA health care, and let people take their money out of the trust fund that fuels most retirees' mainstay, the annuity promised by Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in one of the darkest economic chapters the world has ever seen – the Great Depression. I never have figured out what was so great about it, but that's what some of them call it. All the people who were there told me when I was coming up that it was a time when there just was no money.

They would always shrug their shoulders and repeat themselves. There just wasn't any money. One day there was money; the next day, there was none.

Oh, Mr. Flores has waffled around on both issues, but the bright young men and women who operate the tape recorders and video cameras have nailed him down on what he said and when he said it.

Let's make no mistake. It's the same old same old GOP rant when it comes to VA and Social Security benefits.

I have seen Republican Presidents and GOP Congressional majorities turn veterans away at the medical center doors, seen the benefits counselors just shake their heads and stand up at their desks to signal the interview is over, and listened to the wondrous claims of what Wall Street can do for me with my own money if I will just throw it down on the long come line and let somebody else control the bones.


Anyway, I came away from the call impressed that I have lived long enough to get a robocall from another old timer urging me to vote his way so they don't jack with our grandpa and grandma checks.

They put me on the list. Howdy, y'all. Checking in at the bench, another old head with chrome-plated hair.

Suddenly, a lifetime of dodging the consequences of bipedal locomotion and opposing thumbs came rushing past my mind's eye, and I thought, “Man, this is it! Your first appeal as a senior citizen and you're sitting in your own home playing with a computer you bought and paid for and delight in learning how to use from your own grandchildren – old timer.

I don't know this person, but I would bet you ten dollars from my next Social Security check that if we meet in the domino hall or the barber shop, the deer lease, the grocery store - or anywhere else regular meetings of the spit and whittle society convene - we would give each other that special sign of recognition we reserve for each other.

Howdy, old man! You don't look a day over 39.

And, hey, buddy, don't kid yourself. The Legendary Jim Parks done scratched that Republican oil man from Houston and gave Chet Edwards the nod. He's got the experience - and it shows.

He wears it well. And he came on the line and said he paid for the call. I kind of suspected that.

Draw, dawg! Yo' down.

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