"Do You Remember..." -- 06/10/11

So the other day I got a piece of mail that on the outside said
"Do You Remember..." (Yeah, capitalized like that and with quotation marks.)

And then below that was a list of stuff -- all in capital letters (I don't know who did their editing and layout).



Yes, it is a sales pitch, although it makes me think it was aimed at someone a bit older than me. The first one didn't apply to me... and IBM built a site in my hometown in the mid-fifties (my father worked as a steam-fitter during the construction and then IBM hired him as an employee around 1956) besides which, I was always reading science and science fiction books even in grade school and the first new car I bought was a 1967 Chevy II for about two thousand dollars (list price was a bit over two but I got it for a bit under). When could you get a new Chevy for six hundred bucks? I couldn't quickly find a list of new car prices from the forties or fifties with Google, but I'd bet that a $600 new car and 11 cents a gallon gas both occurred before I was born. I can remember gas in the range of 20 to 25 cents per gallon, but I think the only times I saw it under 20 cents was when gas stations were having price wars. (We didn't have a car until I was nine, so I have no idea what gasoline prices were in the forties and early fifties.)

Inside it continued: We were born before cable TV, the Internet, moon landings, and credit cards. We were there when McDonalds and Disneyland first opened. We remember when Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, The Platters, and Bill Haley and the Comets were Rock and Roll idols. We never heard of mobile phones, CD players or dishwashers. Ah... and then came the punch line, the purpose of this missive, the introduction to the sales pitch... And we never heard of making our own funeral arrangements.

Okay, thank you very much... Hmmmm... Well, I do think that "preplanning" makes sense if you have some particular ideas about what you want your funeral to be like (recalling, of course, that you aren't actually going to be taking an active role in the process) but why would you want to actually purchase it in advance unless your doctor had told you only had a few months left?

I figure statistically I've got a bit longer than that. Social Security has a chart that says that at my current age, I've got (on average) 15 years left. But that is on average. And even using their current charts, the typical American male at age 83 has got on average another six and a half years. Well, twenty years ago I had no idea that I would move to Rhode Island in a few years; I didn't even have any thoughts about moving from the house we were living in then. But what would have been the point of purchasing a funeral in one state and then moving to another?

The sales pitch from the funeral home went on to warn that the cost of a funeral could double by 2016. Well, I do have some concerns that the morons in Washington are quite capable of continuing to screw up the economy -- hey, I'm old and I can remember what a mess Johnson and then Nixon and then Ford and then Carter managed to make -- and I know how much governments love inflation (why do you think the value of the dollar has fallen so much over your lifetime?) but even they don't want inflation to be so high that they lose the next election. (Remember, Carter was a one-term president, Ford had lost to Carter, and Nixon and LBJ had a variety of problems besides both being resonsible for significant inflation due to the combination of their war and economic policies) Even so, I don't see any reason to purchase a funeral package now (which is what they mean by "preplanning").

Besides which, I had my semi-annual visit with my cardiologist this morning and he is very happy with my blood pressure (124/74) and with the results of sticking little remote sensors on me this morning and with my condition in general. All smiles, no frowns, no lectures... a good visit.

Replies to some recent comments:

Bonnie wanted to know if I had checked my supermarket register tape in the store or after I got home. It was after I got home. However, I had other errands to run in town but wanted to get the perishables in the refrigerator as quickly as I could. The other errands could have been done on Sunday or could have been done on Monday. Once I had checked the register tape, I decided to go back into town on Sunday rather than waiting until Monday, but it did not cost me any more than an additonal quarter mile each way. (The supermarket is three and a half miles from home.)

Dick Duffy wanted to know about my undergraduate colleges and why I changed schools. My first two years of college were at C.W.Post College (part of Long Island University -- back then they called it C.W.Post College and then down in smaller print would mention it as being a division of LIU but I think these days they call it the C.W.Post campus of Long Island University). I transferred to SUNY/New Paltz -- that is, the State University of New York College at New Paltz, NY (Dick understands the school name -- we both grew up in Kingston, which is the next exit on the N.Y.State Thruway after the New Paltz exit -- but I figured some of you not in that region might wonder "What is a SUNY?") Why did I transfer -- mostly economic -- I was planning on changing my major from psychology to education and, in that case, why not attend a state school that was much cheaper and was close to home. The thinking behind that was that you couldn't do much with psychology to earn a decent living without a graduate degree but with a teaching degree you could get a job right out of college and I was thinking about marriage and planning ahead. As it turned out, the relationship that prompted thoughts of marriage ended around the middle of my first term at New Paltz, I majored in English (not education) but took enough Ed courses to get a teaching job after graduation.

And also to Dick -- Yes, I am absolutely attending our 50th high school reunion this summer -- signed up, sent a check to cover Friday night and Saturday night gatherings, and reserved two nights at a B&B not too far out of town.

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