This column originally appeared in the Gazette on Oct. 26, 2011.
It was a nice-looking envelope. Neatly printed on the envelope was “The Mitchell Family” followed by our address. In the corner was RSVP, Please reply by Oct. 18. I thought we were being invited to something.
Inside, though, was the harsh reality. The hearing-aid salespeople over in Saltillo wanted me to come for a free hearing evaluation.
I asked my wife if she had turned in my name. Jenny suggests frequently that I need to get my hearing checked because when she asks me to do something around the house, I often don’t hear her.
Well, I do have a slight hearing loss, but I’ve had it since I was in my early 20s. It came from being too close to several exploding artillery shells when I was in the Army in Vietnam. And sometimes I’ve been known to mention it when I’ve found watching sports on television more enticing than taking out the trash or cleaning up the garage.
Anyway, Jenny said she wasn’t the culprit.
Getting all of these mail and e-mail pitches is somewhat depressing because I never think of myself as being old. Some of that probably is because I am married to someone quite a bit younger than I am.
Or maybe it’s just my refusal to identify with my age. It seems like only a couple of years ago that the AARP began sending me mailings to become a member.
Looking at it now, I guess it really has been going on for nearly 16 years. Back then, they actually called it the American Association of Retired Persons. Somewhere along the way they just became AARP.
You would think at some point they would give me up as a lost cause.
But no, the mail and e-mails just keep coming. They’ve spent far more than the $16 membership fee just on postage trying to snare me. I must be quite a catch. (Sometimes I have to remind Jenny of that.)
Some of the offers have changed over the years, though. The glossy time-share vacation-resort brochures have migrated to senior-living villages in Florida.
And I used to get e-mails inviting me to try online dating services where I could meet “other hot singles” in my area. Saturday I got one inviting me to join a group where I could get to know other “single seniors.”
Who knows what mailing-list company convinced them I’m single. Actually I’ve been married all but three years since I turned 21—a year in the early ‘80s and two when my wife died in early 1998.
It reminds me how hit-and-miss direct-mail advertising is. Being in the newspaper business, that’s a very fortunate thing.
At least I’m still getting mail and e-mail geared to active seniors. The pre-paid burial insurance and mail-order casket companies aren’t hounding me.
At least, not yet.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at email@example.com.