Friday, 19 October 2012
Off to Buy Vitamins
By Deborah Greant of Simple Not Easy
I'm on Facebook. It's how I keep up with my dozens of distant friends and family members. But the "targeted" ads I am served are absolutely a hoot. Some days they're more entertaining than the FB posts.
My favourite is the one about the 50-year-old woman whose dermatologist hates her for her age-defying beauty secret which makes her look 25 - which she is willing to sell me, of course.
I don't want it. If I looked 25 people would expect me to act 25 and if there's one thing I love about looking old it's that you don't have to apologize for being slow anymore.
Another daily ad is from a match-making service which laments the fact that their "senior men" can't find "faithful senior women like you.”
Since my husband is sitting here yelling at the hockey on TV, wouldn't answering that ad prove I'm not the "faithful" woman they're looking for? Besides, their "senior men" (models dressed as policemen and firemen and doctors in lab coats) are all about 35! My sons are older!
Still hoping they have a merry and, potentially, wealthy widow on their hands (I gave them no information other than name, age and a hometown I left at age 11), FB offers me ads for high-end retirement homes then tries to entice me to join a single-seniors-only cruise.
I sense frustration as they try to find something, anything that I might buy. A decorator will come to my home and make sure it doesn't have that "granny vibe" we all fear.
I'm not fond of the $12,000 sofa on their website. It looks like three ironing boards bolted together and upholstered in fuschia-coloured patent leather.
The ad servers are flummoxed. Abandoning their hopes that I am a simply fabulous, single-cruising-cougar widow, they test the theory that I am a crippled-up, pension-pinching, old party pooper. They offer to sell me the secret of how to get $35,000 free dollars from the government because I am infirm. No bite.
Desperation sets in. They abandon targeting and simply go with alternating stereotypes. It's well known that if you are over 65 you are either a doddering invalid or an elderly Olympian, so they alternate ads for medical aids with those for hair-raising adventures.
Would I like to stand out in my geezer crowd with a hand-carved cane from Borneo? No? Do I want to go sky-diving? No? Do I need a new wheelchair? No?? A day of back-country mudding in a dune buggy? NO???
Perhaps I could do with a medical lift? NO? A trek to Mongolia? NO???? A hospital bed? NO??? Have I climbed Everest yet?? NO???? Perhaps I need to arrange END-OF-LIFE-CARE???
When I don't throw the credit card at any of these tantalizing choices, I visualize them hunched over their keyboards with knit brows shuffling ads like a deck of cards.
One, gnawing his thumbnail, says tensely, "Pull back just a little, offer her (long pause) square-dancing lessons."
They watch with nervous expectation as the ad comes and goes, all Madison Avenue ad agency sweat under the armpits as FB stock ticks lower by the second. A vein in a temple pulses visibly. The old dame is holding out. She's still not buying anything!
In rapid succession, they promise to hide my varicose veins, lift my sagging bosom, glue chalk white facades on my discoloured teeth, ease my aching joints.
This gives me pause. I've never noticed that I have any of these problems. Perhaps Facebook has a "Future Afflictions" app I inadvertently signed up for?
I was actually beginning to worry about it. I even stopped to look in the mirror the other day (an activity I usually avoid).
But then I was served a FB ad endorsed by my cousin Stan. Facebook has apparently developed an app which does what no other web application has ever done before: transcended that final curtain which we had not hitherto peered beyond.
Stan passed away last December. I won't elaborate but every family has a black sheep and Stan was ours. His was a life of promise gone sorely wrong. I only heard from him on holidays. However, today through FB he recommended I take a well-known brand of senior's vitamins.
They finally have me. Purse in hand, I'm headed out the door to buy some. If that brand of vitamin can make Stan feel well enough to post to FB from where he's gone, it might finally make a square-dancer out of me.
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]