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My age and my mail
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The aging process is a strange thing.

You expect certain things to become more difficult and you don't do some things as well as you once did. And at a certain point you can't do them at all.

You usually find out about the things you can't do after you try to do them, wake up in traction and think to yourself, dadgum, I can't do that any more.

This is not unexpected and something one can learn to live with.

But the most sinister aspect of aging is the advertising afflicted upon you. Junk mail may be junk but it does give some insight as to how you are being viewed by the people who are locked in a small room and figure statistics all day on an abacus.

There are actuaries who believe they can tell when you are going to kick the bucket simply by examining your credit card bills. When they see a lot of charges at rib shacks, liquor stores and NASCAR tracks, they figure you probably will not need the flyer on long term investment.

Even if you feel great and work under the notion that age is just a number, being reminded by advertising of your advancing years is an unnecessary burden we should not have to face. This has come to light as I have a friend who is turning 60 this week. He is accepting the event with grace, maintains it does not bother him, and states he feels no older than 59. He is a journalist so his liver is a lot older than 60 and probably looks like Karl Maulden's nose.

What he noticed is he is suddenly getting solicitations from funeral homes and cemeteries. The idea is not to necessarily hurry to use their services but just make sure you don't burden others with your final arrangements. The counter position is why worry about things once the lights are out and just rely on a cheap relative to stuff you in a sack and toss you in a hole.

Getting solicitations from AARP when you turn 50 is one thing, having someone offer you a deal on your final ride and residence is another.

When you turn 21, you find your junk mail loaded with solicitations for credit cards and car loans. At 30, corporate America figures you have settled down, so you are besieged with ads about getting enough life insurance. At 40, there is much talk about making certain you have set up adequate finances to carry you into your twilight years. Of course, if you end up using the funeral and cemetery services early then you don't worry about retirement.

Along with AARP, at 50 you also receive a lot of material regarding setting up your last will and testament. This assumes you have something worth leaving and someone you want to see get it. For some this is irrelevant because I know a guy who plans to use up everything he's got and leave nothing behind to anyone. He did say he would leave his organs behind for transplant but given the way this guy is moving down the tracks the only use for his organs will be for target practice.

You also get notices about taking that once-in-a-lifetime vacation or the exotic trip you always wanted to take. While some of these can sound great, you need to go ahead and open the mail from the funeral home and cemetery if you decide to climb the Matterhorn or trek across the Australian outback after you reach a certain age.

Heaven only knows what solicitations you start getting when you turn 70 but I figure by 80 you don't get much because most folks figure you have checked out anyway.

My friend and his wife are going to New Orleans for his birthday and at 60 that may be perilous in its own right. I suggested he leave his dental records with me just in case.

He took umbrage at this but had to acknowledge that having dental records in a file folder was better than your teeth in a glass.

If we want to help the budget deficit and the Post Office then why not raise the rates on all the unsolicited junk mail we get? It may not cut down on all the stuff we don't want to see as we get older but at least it would serve some purpose

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at