I’m Too Young for the AARP

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Like any good Gen Xer, I resent the old – the Baby Boomers are always busy ruining the world, after all – and the young – darn those millennials – in part because those two generations vastly outnumber our counterparts. The only news Gen X has been making lately has been for dying young—of suicide and drugs. Yeah!

But our one generational solace was this: no one could call us old. We never really dressed like old people (see Grunge, the 90s, Nirvana, etc.). And we aren’t old yet, not with the Boomers entering retirement.

Now the AARP is taking that way. They keep sending me mail. Even though I’m not 50, and not even close to 50. (OK, a little bit close to 50, but at my next birthday, I’ll still round down to 40).

Last week was some kind of AARP spam week. Each day, my copy of the LA Times arrived with an AARP mailing inside of it, addressed to “valid member.” Even though I ain’t no member.

Inside, it offered me to join: $16 for one year of membership, 3 years for $43, or 5 years for – BEST VALUE! — $63. It promised me a free Metro card (which I can use on L.A.’s subways, light rail and buses, all of which I use). Is this some kind of early retirement program, like early Alzheimer’s?

Maybe my problem is that I was profiled. I still subscribe to actual paper newspapers. My favorite sport is baseball. I don’t like Snapchat.

But still! I’m not old enough to join AARP or retire. I suspect I never will.

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