By Deborah Cavel-Greant who blogs at Simple Not Easy
I'm on Facebook, it's how I keep up with my friends and family members. But the "targeted" ads I am served are a hoot and some days are more entertaining than the FB posts.
My favourite is the one about a 50-year-old woman whose dermatologist hates her for her age-defying beauty secret which makes her look 25 (and which she is willing to sell me).
I’m not interested because if I looked 25 people would expect me to act 25 and if there's one thing I love about being old it's that you don't have to apologize for being slow anymore.
Another frequent ad thrown at me is from a dating service that laments the fact that their "senior men" can't find "faithful senior women like you Deborah".
Since I’ve been married to the same old fella for almost 55 years, if I answered that ad I'd not be the "faithful" woman they're looking for would I? Besides their "senior men" (hunky bare-chested models dressed as policemen and firemen and doctors) - are all about 35! My sons are older!
Still hoping they have a merry and potentially wealthy widow on their hands (I gave Facebook NO information other than my name, age and hometown I left at age 11), they offer to move me into a high-end retirement home, then try to entice me to join a single-seniors-only cruise. I sense frustration as they try to find something, anything that I might buy.
An interior designer will come to my home and make sure it doesn't have that "granny vibe" we all fear. Sadly, I do not care for their recommended $12,000 sofa that looks like three metal ironing boards welded together into an isosceles triangle and covered with shiny fuchsia-coloured Naugahyde.
They are flummoxed. Abandoning the hope that I am a high-rolling, world-cruising-cougar, they test the theory that I am a crippled-up, penny-pinching old party pooper and offer to sell me the secret of how to get $35,000 of free money from the government because I am infirm.
When I don't even want to know how to get $35,000 of free-for-the-taking-money, desperation sets in.
It's well known if you are over 65, you are either decrepit or an elderly Olympian so they abandon all semblance of targeting and simply go with alternating stereotypes. They begin rotating advertisements for medical aids with those for hair-raising experiences.
Do I need a new electric wheelchair? No? Do I want to go sky-diving? No? How about standing out in the geezer crowd with a hand-carved cane from Borneo? No?
Surely I'd enjoy a life-changing (I read this as "life-ending") sledding adventure down the North Face of the Matterhorn? NO? Perhaps I need a medical lift or a potty chair to sit beside my bed? NO?
An all-inclusive travel package to Mozambique to run in a marathon? NO???
When I don't pitch my credit card at the screen, I visualize them hunched over their keyboards with knit brows, shuffling ads like a deck of solitaire cards. One, gnawing his thumb knuckle, says tensely, "Pull back 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. One swears, and spits out, “The old dame is holding out. She's still not buying ANYTHING!”
In rapid succession they promise to hide my varicose veins, cure my diabetes, lift my sagging bosom, reduce my dewlap and “turkey-neck”, ease my painful gout. This gives me pause. I don’t have any of these problems; perhaps Facebook has a "Coming Afflictions" application I have inadvertently signed up for? Should I worry about this?
But I crumbled when I got a message from my cousin Mack this morning. Facebook has apparently developed an app that does what no other web application has ever done before; transcended that final curtain which we have never peered beyond.
My dearly loved cousin Mack passed away last December. However, I got a message on Facebook from him today recommending a well-known brand of senior's vitamins.
They finally have me. I'm off to buy some. If those vitamins can make Mack feel well enough to post to FB from where he's gone, they might finally make a square-dancer out of me.
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