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Rick's List — Officially Old Edition

I turned 65 earlier this week and was inundated with calls, texts and other various and presumptive messages of farewell. Some were from family and friends, of course; most were from folks wanting to sell me burial insurance or time-share cemetery plots in Florida.

My dentist's office also sent an email. I thought it was just a polite, generic "Happy Birthday" thing generated by an algorithm in their office computer that automatically goes to each patient on her or his birthday. But it said, "Hey, Koster, get in here and let us fix your coroded, guacamole-colored teeth!"

In the days leading up to #65, I visited the Social Security complex to see how, governmentally speaking, this whole Old Person thing works, and to decide whether I want Medicare insurance and/or if I want to start "getting the money I slaved my (expletive) off for!" as I heard one fellow citizen demand from the neighboring desk.

To my horror, when he said that, a trap door opened underneath his chair and he dropped, screaming horribly, into a pit.

Just kidding.

In all honesty, the Social Security rep — Kathey — was very helpful and funny, though I had to fill out a few official forms for their records with questions like:

1. Do you prefer to be called (check one): Obsolete_____; Dead Man Walking_____; Get out of the way, you crusty old freak!_____; Diego, King of Spain_____; other_____.

2. Do you plan to (check one): Be cremated_____; Be buried in the Pet Sematary_____; Have a Viking funeral_____; Have your severed head mounted on the piked fence in your front yard_____.

3. When you go to 99 or IHOP or Denny's for the Oldster's Free Birthday Lunch, do you order (check one): Soft-serve vanilla ice cream_____; fruit cup_____; two boxes of super-absorbant adult diapers_____; butterscotch pudding_____; a bone-in slab of teriyaki mutton jerky_____.

Speaking of restaurants that take good care of the elderly, have you noticed the special paper placemats they give us Ancients at diners? They're different than the ones for regular patrons. I mean, every customer gets a paper placemat, and they all have those little business card advertisements around the perimeter. But, in the center, where there's normally a crayon fill-in drawing for kids or a crossword puzzle for adults, the AARP People placemats have a do-it-yourself will and testament.

On my birthday proper, I:

1. Visited some hearing aids shops

2. Stood in the produce aisle at the grocery store and compared string beans for 42 minutes

3. Went to the Sugar-Pops Cabaret in Groton for their Blue Pill Happy Hour. You get a cup of broth, six-ounces of Bud Light, and a table dance. To show my personal dancer I'm still sprightly and feisty, I sang her the chorus of that Black Crowes song: "Pretty little thang, let me light your candle / 'Cause mama I'm sure hard to handle!" The dancer — Marmalade, I think her name was — was touched and tried to get me to leave all my savings to her in the diner's do-it-yourself will and testament I'd filled out in orange Crayon.

But I'm not THAT old and naive. I left everything to Diego, King of Spain. 


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