When I was younger I used to look at photographs of my grandparents and their siblings and often thought how old and careworn they looked when, in actual fact, they were only in their 40s or 50s!
I realise that they had much harder lives than we do and were probably worn out by hard manual labour and/or raising large families on small incomes; they also had two World Wars with their associated risks of invasion and extermination to contend with – which can’t have helped!
There does, however, seem to have been an automatic assumption in those olden times that, when you reached a certain age, you were required to dress and have your hair done in a way that made you look even older and that made things much worse.
Whatever the reason it cannot be denied that my grandparents looked more than their age, my parents looked their age while I look and feel younger than my age!
Well I would if I were to dye my hair and get rid of this distinguished grey beard anyway!
I definitely FEEL younger anyway – internally most of me feels the same as it did at age 25 (which was 1978 in real life in case you didn’t know) which probably annoys my children who are both past that age themselves!
Life is pretty good right now – I have retired from the rat race, have a volunteer job teaching computers to the “incomputerate” at Peterborough Library that I really enjoy and have a new grandson to make me feel like I did when I was 30 (but minus the sleep deprivation)!
So why, as my 64th birthday approaches, is it suddenly being suggested to me that I am about to die?!
Every day for the last week or so I have received an almost identical letter from a whole range of Insurance Companies telling me that I need huge amounts of Life Insurance to look after my family after I have “gone”!
It doesn’t happen at any other time of year so I assume that the intention of these documents is to make the arbitrary one unit increase in my count of years cause me to freak out at the thought of my impending demise and “panic buy” their product. To assist me with this they not only provide me with a partly completed form and a prepaid envelope but also an assurance that (given my obvious impending physical dissolution) I won’t need to have a medical to get their cover!
They all go straight into the shredder despite my feeling that I should really forward them to the police as “threatening behaviour”! I do sometimes put all the accompanying literature (minus the bits with my name on) into the franked envelope and post it back on the grounds that they don’t pay for that postage unless the envelope is used! Perhaps if enough of us indulge in this small act of sabotage, they will stop!
And then, on Friday, after the arrival of another of these letters and while I was regretting that there was no-one I could reasonably shout at about this, I got a phone call from a local Peterborough number.
I did not catch the lady’s name but the conversation went roughly thus:
Her: “Is that <Alfie>?”
Her: “I’m calling from the Review Department……..”
Me: “Hold it! The Review Department of which Company, please?”
Her: “I’m calling to ask about your Life Insurance cover…..”
Me: “Oh really? Bad timing on your part then! I’m getting heartily sick of every Insurance Company in the land trying to sell me something just because I have a birthday coming up! It’s a despicable and threatening business practice and I’d like you to report my words to your bosses or ask them to call me themselves so that I can do it! Thank you and goodbye!”
No-one has yet called back and I’m not surprised.
As far as my looking after my “dependants” is concerned that term only really applies to my potential widow and if Faith is concerned at how to cover my funeral expenses I will simply suggest that she drops me into the brown “Garden waste” wheelie bin and let the council dispose of me – although Sods Law says that the timing will be such that I will have to wait 2 weeks for that bin to be collected!
I am reminded of the words my elderly mother still uses whenever someone tells her “You can’t take it with you”.
Her unvarying reply is “If I can’t take it with me, I’m not going!”