Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Advice Column Mashup

Dear Ann Savage,
Our daughter is 10 years old, and very big for her age. "Evangeline" is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. She still plays with dolls, and her interests are the same as any other 10-year-old girl.

Last Halloween, Evangeline came home in tears after 15 minutes of trick-or-treating. She had been told she was too old to be "doing that." When we would go to the movies or to a sports event and ask for a child's ticket, they invariably questioned her age. We solved that problem by bringing along a copy of her birth certificate.

I have never seen this situation addressed in your column, so I hope you will publish my letter. Surely other parents are experiencing this same challenging situation and are at a loss as to how to deal with it.

A New Orleans Reader

Dear Reader,
First off, you were born five foot two, 450 pounds? Did your mother burst like a seedpod?

Second, enough already! I am thoroughly annoyed at having my tame statements of fact—being heavy is a health risk; rolls of exposed flesh are unsightly—characterized as "hate speech." (Particularly by people who, like LARDASS, fill their letters complaining about my hate speech with juvenile taunts about my hunger for c**k.) Perhaps the problem here is that LARDASS and BW lack perspective. My comments only seem hateful to people who haven't read anything truly hateful about fat.


Dear Ann Savage,
I am 38 years old and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I am stuck in a job I hate and don't know what to do with my life. When I was in high school, I never gave my future a second thought. I didn't want to join the family business, so I went into the military. That was OK for a while, but I didn't want to make a career of it.

I married a great girl and we have two kids, but I lost my job, and now we are in rocky financial shape. My father offered me a job and I took it out of desperation, but it was not a good fit so I quit. I returned to college and got a degree after 10 years of evening classes, but it didn't train me to do anything worthwhile.

I went back to work for my father, but I am bored out of my mind. I know I am capable of more. I took some job-placement tests, but it seems I have no aptitude for what interests me, and no interest in what I am qualified for. How can I get out of this trap?

Totally Stuck in Minnesota

Dear Totally,
If you're serious about your motto—"the older the better"—then the club you should join is AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons. "AARP has 33 million members," said Tom Otwell, AARP's national spokesman, "with the median age being 67. We have members from age 50 to well over 100." Is AARP a good way for single people to meet mature partners? "We have 4,000 chapters, some are more social than others, some more politically active than others. But being active in a chapter certainly creates opportunities to mingle with like-minded folks." As almost 60 percent of AARP's members are female, and many of these women are widowed, odds and early male mortality rates would seem to favor you, Spike.

But, alas, at 38 you're too young to join AARP. "Fifty is the age of membership eligibility," Tom told me, "but if someone is married to another person who is 50 or older, then that person automatically becomes a member when their spouse joins." Did Tom have any advice for someone not yet old enough for AARP who wanted to meet, oh, women old enough to be long-time AARP members? "Um, I guess I would give the standard advice: Get involved in social activities, take some classes, do some volunteer work. A lot of volunteer organizations rely heavily on older folks to fill their ranks, and someone could meet any number of older people that way."

To join AARP, send $8 to The American Association of Retired Persons Membership Center, P.O. Box 199, Long Beach, CA 90848. Along with your membership card you'll receive a subscription to—are you sitting down?—Modern Maturity, AARP's membership magazine, and probably some good one-handed reading for you, Spike. You don't have to provide proof of age to join—just check the "I'm 50!" box—and Tom tells me the September/October issue of Modern Maturity had a cover story on "Great Sex: What's Age Got to Do with It?"

Anything in that issue about the pros and cons of younger men worshiping older women like Egyptian love slaves? "I don't think I'm going to comment on that," said Tom, who suddenly had to take another call.


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