Lucky and Charming, No Matter What Some Think

Yesterday at work I was going through Kara’s e-mail inbox — her work inbox, where the invoices I need get sent, not that this was some low-level spyware scandal — when I came upon an offer I couldn’t refuse: Quickbooks wanted to pay me, in the form of an Amazon gift card of course, to take a 12-15-minute survey.

They were offering $20, which in the world of surveys seems pretty lucrative, so I decided to give Quickbooks 15 minutes of my time. But they took less than five. After answering questions about the size and revenue of our operation, they told me, not even politely, that I wasn’t what they were looking for and they no longer cared about my input. I got booted out of the survey — no gift card, not even $5 for at least trying to help them out.

When I reported this to Kara, who was printing in the still-97-degree corner, she noted that such a notice was hardly a self-esteem builder. Not only am I not worth $20 to some giant corporation; they just flat aren’t interested in me at all.

It’s kind of like not being invited to your high-school class reunion of 100 students, although I finally stopped taking that one so personally on Monday, when one of the classmates I would have liked to have seen came into my shop. Scott and his wife Jenny, who have been at the same Grand Junction address for over 30 years, came to town for a belated annual anniversary lunch at Mario’s, followed by their obligatory stop to see me. Where they heard for the first time about the reunion that happened over the weekend. No one had bothered to contact them.

Somehow, lots of people managed to show up for this reunion — at least, the float had to go around the parade route twice to accommodate all the people that showed up for both ’80 and ’81 — but it’s a bit disappointing that organizers didn’t try a little harder to find people who aren’t that hard to find.

I did, since my classmate Chuck had kindly provided a schedule to me, debate going to some of the Saturday activities. Instead, despite feeling sort of guilty for skipping them, I settled in on my couch in an attempt to read two years’ worth of magazines in order to justify their continued existence in my house.

I started with one of the two magazines AARP sends and continues to send despite Lynn only paying a nominal one-time membership fee and never re-upping or sending them more money. This is the more newspaper-y magzine, not the celebrity-studded elder version of People, and it is slowly dawning on me that AARP is all about self-improvement.

They don’t phrase it this way, but by the time they get done telling you where to live, how to spend your money, what to eat, how to exercise, it ought to occur to bulbs brighter than me: they want to make you into a better person.

What it comes down to is: AARP doesn’t like me for who I am any more than Quickbooks does.

Okay, I’m sure AARP will couch this as they only want me to live a long, healthy and happy life, but if you start reading into it — you’re not good enough for our $20 — they want me to make a lot of changes to get there.

Recently their magazine wanted me to eat five (I think) servings of fruits and vegetables every day. If we count Lucky Charms, I might be there. [Ordinarily, I don’t keep Lucky Charms on hand because of the high sugar content, but these were the limited edition “Galactic” Lucky Charms. How could I say no?]

As I was eschewing the reunion that had already eschewed me on Saturday, I landed on an article telling me that leaving my comfort zone could make me healthier and happier. So apparently I should have left my couch and gone on a fruitless quest for my friend Scott, who was at work in faraway Grand Junction and didn’t even know at the time that he was being eschewed.

Apparently, according to the article’s author, who also has a book on the subject, we all got too comfortable during this pandemic, and embracing comfort and convenience leads to “our most pressing physical and emotional health issues.”

An earlier magazine edition counseled eating 30 different plants each week, and pointed out that one slice of multi-grain bread could account for several of those plants. So even if I can’t count Lucky Charms as a fruit, somewhere down deep there is an oat or two in my bowl, so that should qualify as 1/30th of my AARP-approved diet. Plus the 12 grains floating in my bread slice, and I am practically on my way to a vegan existence.

Well, no more Lucky Charms for me! (Mostly because the box is almost empty.)

Now, the article didn’t specifically say I should get off my comfortable, nap-inducing couch to go mingle with people, some of whom I probably haven’t seen in 41 years and probably wasn’t friends with even then, but somehow I read between the lines and thought maybe that’s what the author wanted me to do. But I managed to disregard that suggestion anyway.

Instead, I focused on his sixth and final suggestion, sort of: it wanted me to “break my routine” by doing and learning new things. This will slow down time, he suggested, although that assertion prompted a great deal of debate among my Sunday breakfast peeps, which seemed like a better meet-and-greet than a reunion that didn’t invite the people I wanted to see anyway.

So AARP would like me to “practice doing or learning something new every single day,” as opposed to just doing or learning; I guess we have to ramp up by practicing.

I didn’t make it to my reunion, but I did get to see old friends I wanted to see two days later, and today I have learned that the moon is 252,088 miles from Earth. Do you know where I learned that? From the back of my Lucky Charms box. So it is health food, and I am on the right path after all, thanks to AARP, which turns out to care about me way more than Quickbooks does.

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