You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing. – Michael Pritchard, comedian

The Retirement Sage

5 New Retirement Satires: Genuine Fake News

Straight-up advice with a twist of humor
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Are you 'old?' A humorous quiz

Dear Sage:


At what point are you officially ‘old?’ A few couples got together last weekend and enjoyed a spirited discussion about this question. Is there an age cutoff? Is it when you receive Social Security or Medicare? When you retire? When you become frail? When you surpass life

expectancy? Or is this, as so many people say, simply a state of mind? The United Nations says that ’65-plus years may be usually denoted as old age.’ In your opinion, when does geezerhood really begin?


                              – A 65-year-old kid in Orlando


Dear Kid:


   None of these milestones is definitive. However, the Sage believes that anyone who exhibits 20 or more of the following manifestations can proudly declare himself or herself beyond, um, late middle age:


• Driving 20 mph below the speed limit in a 25-mph zone.

• Never getting away from the dinner table without major grease spots on your shirts, pants and the carpeting. Plus, your daughter puts plastic covers on her dining room chairs, saying that the little ones can be pretty messy, and then you remember that you don’t have grandkids yet.

• Looking at a gorgeous actress or handsome actor on TV and thinking, 'Boy, what nice nostrils – and, oh, those earlobes!'

• Watching TV constipation commercials and thinking, ‘No! Not her! She’s only 70! She’s beautiful – what on earth does she have to be constipated about?’

• Starting to jot down a list of issues for your next doctor visit and realizing that it would be easier to note the things that don’t hurt.

• Taking cash out of your wallet to pay for everything –gas, groceries, clothing, a new Cadillac.

• Noticing that your eyebrows are as dense as the Tongass National Forest in Alaska – and not caring one whit.

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As couple begins to renew vows and take second honeymoon, husband panics after suddenly realizing that he forgot to clean out lint trap in dryer and may have neglected to replace plastic bag after taking trash out


   “I’m in for it now!” exclaimed a contrite Frederick Q. Grovelmaus of Looney Mountain, Vermont, who was desperately trying to figure out how to get his brother to drive 200 miles, call a locksmith, and correct these mortal sins – before the blessed couple returned home in two weeks.

   “What a way to begin the next chapter,” he lamented. “Hortense will kill me if these things aren’t fixed. Well, at least I finished the laundry and didn’t leave the seat up on the john. I hope.”

                                                                         * * *

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Seniors by the thousands are keeping the love alive with soft touches, sweet words and rapturous ‘afternoon delight’ – 30-minute naps with dazzling afterglows


   “Boy, when we were in our 20s and 30s, ‘afternoon delight’ meant hours of unending passion,” said Marjorie Q. Schtolfoops of Pocked Spud, Idaho. “Now the passion is for one of those naps, ones that don’t make us so groggy or cranky that we can’t sleep for four nights!”

   Added her husband, Snafoo, “If we start nodding off around 7:30 or 8, we know the afterglow is a home run!”

                                                                          * * *

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Woman is among six lifelong friends who are proud to have endured seven days in the Caribbean, are thrilled that it’s nearly time to fly home to cranky husbands, cooking, cleaning johns, mopping floors, and changing the oil


   "It's been a blast of sunshine, great food, pina coladas, swimming, dancing, reggae music and perfect weather, but at our age, going to bed early with our dear husbands is really our idea of fun!" said Betty Snortsalott of Slimy Salamander, South Carolina.
  “Give us a day of laundry, floor-mopping, bingo, an early dinner and an hour of watching the evening news – with commercials for drugs that all seem to have death as a side effect –and we’ll show you the perfect day.”

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New retiree dives into aquatic class with older community residents, absorbs so much hairspray in water from permanent do’s that hair turns to steel and she can no longer fit in car, sleep in her own bed, or walk through her house

   “I can’t even budge it!” complained Ruby S. Stiffnaegle of Blue Rinse, Florida. “I tried sleeping next to my husband but the hair was so sharp that he felt he was being stabbed.

   “At this point I’m pretty sure I need to get a bald cut, but I’m having a hard time finding extra-strength industrial-grade scissors that will cut through sheet metal,” she added. “They tell me they may not make anything that strong!”

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Couple, anxious to make friends in Myrtle Beach retirement community after a year, are always the first to greet new residents, still find it bizarre why their social life hasn’t started to blossom


   “I just don’t get it,” said a frustrated Bobbie Jo Schnookz, who moved from of Barbecue Spit, Missouri, with her husband just after they retired. “We’re out there every day like we’re running for office, kissing old ladies and shaking hands, showing our down-home sense of humor, but people just don’t seem to warm up to us.”

   “I think we made a huge mistake,” bemoaned her hubby, Igor. “Our son told us just to be ourselves, which we’ve done, but it doesn’t work here like it did in the Spit. I sure won’t get elected governor again. Nope, not down here!”


Newly retired doctors want to know how to throw a party

Dear Sage:


We are new to a retirement community in California and would like to throw a meet-and-greet party for neighbors. My husband and I are recently retired physicians and haven’t hosted such a get-together in decades. After witnessing what happened next door last weekend. I'm

more than a little nervous. The couple put on one heck of a shouting performance a few hours before they entertained dozens of guests. From what I could gather, they had not even figured out what to serve! The wife sent the husband to the grocery store after screaming things like ‘Why the hell did I agree to do this?” to which the husband shouted, ‘You didn’t agree to do this – you chose to, remember?” After which she told him to shut up multiple times, and he, devising a creating rejoinder, hollered, ‘No, YOU shut up. YOU shut up, OK?’ Anyway, he went to the grocery store and evidently called her to report that the store was out of meatballs and other hot dishes because the food refrigeration unit had failed. I could hear Dear Wife shouting, “Well, get some G.D. frozen pigs in a blanket or one of those stupid Hickory Farms salami and cheese baskets, or some dumb-ass carrot and celery dip platters or chips and salsa. Baked beans. Velveeta. Pizza Pops. Twinkies. Ding Dongs. Cheesis, who the hell cares at this point?” Help, oh Sage. How can I welcome my neighbors in a less exasperated fashion?

                                         – Frazzled in West Palm Beach


Dear Frazzled:

   What? No SPAM? Ho Hos? Sardines? Frozen yak pops? Gator tail? What kind of party was that? The Sage will go out on a limb here and assume that 1. You learned a lot from last weekend’s debacle and 2. That this party was the talk of the neighborhood, and perhaps not in the most laudable of terms, and 3. You are not eager to engage that couple’s services as your party-planning consultants.

   Hosting such affairs certainly can be stressful. You should be at least a little anxious so that you plan in advance, clean your house, do the yard work, figure out whether it should be potluck, order food and, oh, not forget to invite people. At the other extreme, some people would rather burn down their houses than be social flops. They go berserk, take out a second mortgage so that they can order everything from 400-year-old scotch to Austrian White Gold Caviar  ($113,630 at last count, topped, of course, with 22-karat edible gold leaf), and fly in caterers from Paris – anything to avoid becoming the local laughingstocks. Let’s assume that you would rather be at the lighter end of that spectrum.

   First of all, The Sage would recommend that you seek advice, especially if you haven’t done this in a long time. Reach out to a relative who’s a wiz at this, or to a trusted friend who’s respected as a gracious and confident host.

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Stanford anthropologists announce stunning discovery of couple in rural Spanish countryside who report that they genuinely love every minute of each other’s company, have never had to compromise, and have laughed their way through 55 years of marriage


   “These two have made history!” exclaimed Dr. Fabius Q. Metatarsus, who has been on sabbatical for 45 years looking for empirical evidence that such behavior actually exists somewhere on Earth. “This appears to be unique to human history – unending love and unceasing good humor toward each other.

   “Strikingly, the couple still feels this way even after raising eight children. The only odd things are that they are so intently focused on each other that they report having had a hard time remembering their children’s names, and they appear to have forgotten how to ride a bicycle.”

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After new retiree lounges around the house for six months, family court judge rules that wife suffers from Retired Husband Syndrome, sentences hubby to clean toilets daily, wash his own underwear, make his own lunches and stay out of the house 10 hours a day


   “Clearly this poor woman has suffered severe emotional trauma from RHS since this guy stopped working,” said Boca Raton Judge Farquar Q. McFarquar. “She’s stressed, frustrated and not sleeping, and he complains about everything and wants to be waited on hand and foot while he watches soap operas. That ends now!”

   Judge McFarquar added, “If Defendant disobeys said order and does not join clubs or start hobbies, he will be washing underwear and cleaning toilets for the whole neighborhood. Give this poor lady a break! No wonder she took him to court!”

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Woman who usually drinks just water and OJ in the morning has three cups of coffee, then mentions s-e-x, sending fellow retirees fumbling for smartphones to look up the unfamiliar word


   “I’m afraid I made something of a fool of myself,” said Hortense P. Demitaas of Crazed Eagle, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. “Suddenly I remembered that three-letter word, and it came out like a missile before I could stop it.”

   Added one of her fellow retirees, “It’s difficult to pull a name or a word out of your brain, but this one ... it took a while to remember its meaning. But we all agreed that, given the choice, we’d rather drink coffee than experience it anytime soon!”

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Groundbreaking study pinpoints origins of infants’ first words, proving that ‘gaga’ and ‘googoo’ are not gibberish – they’re babies’ actual descriptions of grandparents’ crazed expressions and dreamy gleams of adoring rapture


   “We’ve always assumed that these were nothing but sounds, but we now have solid empirical evidence that babies can tell at about the age of two hours whether their grandparents are, in fact, gaga or googoo,” said the lead author, Yale Professor Felix Q. Faugibottom.

   “By viewing their reactions to grandparents’ various expressions, we proved that infants are born with an amazing ability to differentiate whether their grandparents are rational and level-headed, just plain silly, or totally nuts!” he added.

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Pixabay photo above; Shutterstock photo below

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle semi-retire from ‘senior’ royal duties, couple begins life of financial independence by purchasing fixer-uppers in undisclosed Canadian province.
The pain of humiliation: How can we deal with it in any situation?

Dear Sage:


How to overcome humiliation? I moved into a Florida retirement community six months ago, a year and a half after my wife died back in Vermont. I found myself lonely and thought it might be a good idea to start dating, after a 50-year hiatus. Well, I would have done better to sit at home and watch the Home Shopping Network, or start a

collection of boa constrictors. A woman I’d met during a singles get-together at the community’s activities center asked me to accompany her to a friend’s 75th-birthday party. When we got to the house, my date (Susie) was carrying a gift and I was toting a bottle of wine. Just as we walked into the house, the hostess gave Susie a big hug, looked at me, then back at Susie, and said, ‘You’re kidding, right? Seriously? GEORGE is your date?’ At which point the offending party took the wine, put her hand on my shoulder, guided me out the front door, and said, ‘Thanks for bringing Susie and the wine. We’ll see that she gets home.’ I heard from one individual later that the hostess really wanted to set up Susie with a lawyer friend, one of about 50 people at the party. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was. I felt like crawling back to Vermont! Oh, and neither my date nor the guilty party ever said anything.


                                              ­– Flustered in Fort Myers


Dear Flustered:


   First off, murder appears to be illegal in your state, even for something like this! The Sage would assume that you might have felt like getting into a canoe and paddling toward Mexico, or slinking around incognito wearing a huge floppy hat, oversized sunglasses, and an Inspector Clouseau trench coat with the high collar turned up. But those solutions wouldn’t have done you much good, right?

   Nor would staying indoors for the next ten years or getting a hundred thousand bucks’ worth of plastic surgery. 
  No, you need to hold your head high, but first you’ll have to psych yourself up, put this in perspective, and deal with the embarrassment in a rational and healthy way.

Husband greatly alarmed as wife
appears to be on sad drinking path

Dear Sage:

My Dear Bride is 68 years old and appears to be hitting the bottle pretty heavily. She swears that she has just one or two glasses of wine each night. But recently I discovered a huge trash bag full of empty wine bottles -- perhaps three or four dozen -- in the trunk of her car. She laughed and said that she was going to the recycling center to help

a friend clean up after a recent wine and cheese party. But I wonder if she is grossly underreporting the amount she is consuming. Maybe the stuff she’s sipping in that insulated water bottle isn’t water after all. She rarely slurs words and insists that she’s simply a social drinker. Nevertheless, she has become increasingly moody, confused and forgetful. She’s eating less and is avoiding socializing with friends. I fear that she may have a serious drinking problem. Where should I turn?


                                                   – Scared in Savannah


Dear Scared:


   Particularly as drinking increases among older Americans, this is not a funny issue, though many recovering alcoholics will relate stories that they can now look back on with humor (more on this below). The Sage is not a doctor, but some who are report that many of the symptoms you mention can be attributed to other disorders, including everything from dementia and Alzheimer’s to neurological or biological diseases. First off, a visit to your doctor would certainly seem to be in order, with honest input from you, as alcoholics are notoriously good at denial and at covering up the extent of their drinking. If this is an alcohol disease, it could be eminently helpful – if not life-saving – for you to insist on accurate reporting to medical personnel.

    Otherwise there are countless risks, from overdose to coma, liver damage, brain damage, stroke, heart problems, dementia, debilitating falls, depression and pancreatitis, to name a few – not to mention highway tragedies and cancers of the mouth, throat and other parts of the body. People also can become belligerent, irresponsible in sexual habits, eat very little, neglect their physical appearance and become verbally or physically abusive.

   Then again, many people who define themselves as alcoholics never reach such a point, recognize that they have a problem, and seek help from counselors and 12-step programs, notably AA.

Is sleeping in separate bedrooms or  beds a sign of a bad marriage?

Dear Sage:


How many places can you find to take naps? If you had a spouse who tosses and turns and kicks his legs out around the bed … who snores like a giant rock crusher … who talks and shouts during his sleep … and who likes the bedroom temperature 20 degrees

colder than I like it … well, you’ll find plenty of spots. ‘Sleeping’ next to him is really a misnomer – I sometimes doze off a few times, and then have to catch up with two or three naps during the day. Last week I fell asleep during two consecutive showings of John Wick 3 – Parabellum, which, I’m told, is one of the loudest films of the year – and in which the characters spill enough blood to keep the Red Cross supply at 100% across the country for a year. The kid closing up the theater had to wake me up! I’ve fallen asleep while alone in a kayak, on the john (numerous times), in church while I was supposed to do a reading, and one time on the Disney World Monorail – for five hours. Meanwhile, Hubby sleeps pretty well and says that part of a good marriage is sharing a bed. I’m almost ready to concede that he’s right, so long as he’s sleeping with someone else. What to do, Oh Sage?


                    – Awake near the lake in Madison, Wisconsin


Dear Awake:


   The Sage would agree that you should share a bed under these circumstances – so long as the bed is the size of Wisconsin and so long as you are on opposite ends of it, although it might be a little hard to change the sheets every week. And if you could still hear the snoring, boy would you both have a problem!

   One would assume that the stress level at your house is somewhere close to the red zone, if not smack in the middle of it. Pardon the pun, but if you are so exhausted – your Hubby may be pretty tired, too – you probably don’t smile a whole lot and say ‘Cheese Head’ very often. If you’re taking naps, pulmonologists and sleep doctors would very possibly question whether you are truly getting the refreshing deep sleep that we all need.

    Both of you could be tempting fate in terms of potential illness, injury and your long-term health. What if you fell asleep behind the wheel, for example?

How to deal with potential friend who has a nosy, clingy neighbor

Dear Sage:


I have spent some time with a woman who is a fellow member of a couple of organizations in my town. I know from our friendly interactions in the last year that she could turn out to be a best friend, but here’s the problem: She has a nosy, demanding, needy, newly retired

neighbor across the street who clings to her as if she’s a toddler clutching her mother’s skirt. She always runs out and asks where my friend is going whenever she gets in her car. When my chum has visitors, she either texts her or bursts in. I’ve gone over for lunches, and the neighbor drops in, sits down, pours herself a glass of wine and joins in the conversation. She interjects references to past get-togethers with my friend as if competing with me for affection in a misguided game of one-upmanship. My pal feels sorry for her, saying that she’s insecure, needs reassurance and has a tendency toward moodiness, all of which she feels will be magnified now that she, too – like us – is retired. And my friend doesn’t want to be responsible for precipitating a breakdown. Personally, I would be inclined to build a moat around the house, fill it with alligators and invite her over to swim at will. Should I say anything in the interest of a budding friendship?


                                                 – Flustered in Florida


Dear Flustered:


   At first blush, the Sage, in all his empathic wisdom, would bring in a couple of giant backhoes, widen the moat up to the neighbor’s front door, and invite a few hundred of the hungriest neighborhood alligators to take up residence, as well as crocodiles, giant squid and great white sharks, guarded along the shore by a few genetically engineered Tyrannosauri. Ah, but would even that be enough?

   Upon second blush, however, the Sage feels a bit guilty for that thought and believes that humaneness should always be part of such conflicts – whenever that’s possible. Does your friend really want this relationship – which many psychologists would call toxic – to end? Does she need the neighbor just as much, perhaps gaining self-fulfillment as a mentor? Does she want someone to look up to her and give her a sense of confidence?

   Let’s assume no, no and NO &%$#*#% way!!! – that   

Filling the huge emotional, social
void after leaving the workforce

Dear Sage:


My husband retired six months ago and is experiencing a huge void in his social life now that he’s no longer working. He misses the lunches, the camaraderie, and, I believe, the respect and status. Over 45 years of work in the auto industry, his ego grew like a balloon – not a massive Macy’s parade-sized balloon, but one that was

of reasonable and respectable size. Now it’s been punctured and he’s feeling deflated. We have moved to Florida and he has a lot of time to reflect, since all the distracting tasks involved in a 1,400-mile move have ended. He’s getting more than a little down, as if he’s been abruptly cut off from his known world, and his disappointment is driving me nuts, though I try my best to be understanding and supportive. He calls former co-workers, or emails them, but they often don’t respond. And when they do, the replies seem politely perfunctory, and hubby senses (correctly, I think) that he’s being patronized more than a little bit – they’ll treat the old codger with due dignity given his long tenure, but that’s about it. Short of my sticking a bicycle pump in his ear and blowing his ego back up, how can we get him out of this funk?


                                                    –  Frustrated in Florida


Dear Frustrated:


   First of all, The Sage would not recommend a bicycle pump, as you can readily purchase an air pump made for the express purpose of blowing up balloons. But you don’t really want to risk an invasion of your home by OSHA inspectors arriving with sirens blaring after you misuse portable power equipment, do you?

   Your husband’s issue is far from unique. Post-career adjustment difficulties are common, especially for those who have not planned for change in their social lives and who instead have assumed that as soon as they leave their retirement party, they will put that chapter behind them and proceed head-first into retirement as if cliff-diving in Acapulco. Problem is, many people don’t know how to swim in these new waters, let alone land safely.

   Research shows that many enjoy what a Berkeley expert described as a ‘sugar rush’ right after retirement, followed by a major drop in happiness a few years later.

   “This is what we’ve dreamed of while battling all this stress in Britain!” the couple said in a statement. “We can’t wait to start updating these properties and show baby Archie what it’s like to build a fulfilling retirement from the ground up.

   “Our beloved Prince Charles offered to help finance this beginning of our journey, and we’ll be eternally grateful to him for enabling us to purchase these new estates!” they added.

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Woman, giving all her attention to new pet, leaves with puppy on three-month RV trip and realizes after four days and 1,200 miles that she forgot husband at home


   “Well, I guess he’ll have to stay put!” said Adelaide Q. Stumpjumpa of Slippery Sleet, New Hampshire. “It’s way too late to turn back. He might as well paint the house, build a big play-room addition for our new family member, and replace the plumbing and electric in the rest of the house.”

   Meanwhile, her husband, Ralph, got to work, and in the evenings was reading a book titled ‘How an old dog can learn new tricks to get attention!”

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Florida retirement community hires umpire to keep the peace during bocce and shuffleboard tournaments as savage, bloodthirsty retired hockey fans mock participants, cheer injuries, yell for fights and throw rubber alligators at players


   “These are the most obnoxious sports lunatics on the planet, and a lot of  'em are from Philadelphia!” said the umpire, Harvey Q. Stoopowicz. “They’re calling 90-year-old bocce players losers, idiots and imbeciles and screaming things like, ‘Whadder youse morons doin – cantchyas toss da bol like ya’s wasn’t dead, ya’s stoopid dorks?’ And they even threw snowballs at Santa Claus last Christmas!”

   Sources say that Mr. Stoopowicz is the fourteenth ump hired this year. Fans reportedly chased the first thirteen out of the village after dousing them with Yuengling Lager and flinging cheesy nachos and half-eaten Philly cheesesteaks at them.

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On last day of weeklong exotic and expensive fishing trip, man finally finds success, later takes out miniature yardstick and sends photo to wife showing that he caught 12-foot trout


   “This will buy me more time next year!” exclaimed Adolphus Q. Grumpledypschlitz of Whining Javelina, Arizona. “She bought it hook, line and sinker!”

   His wife, Greta, had the last laugh, though.

   “When he told me he couldn’t filet and ship that fish in dry ice because the thing was so oversized that he had to throw it back, I knew something was fishy,” she said. “Imagine him wrestling a 12-foot trout to release it? They’d be shipping him back!”

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Seniors who don’t get hundreds of Facebook ‘loves’ instead of ‘likes’ on photos of grandkids and grandpuppies take out frustrations by trouncing these boorish louts over the Internet in video games like Splatterhouse, Grand Theft Auto, and Resident Evil


   “These fearsome senior players have amazing endurance!” said Darth Q. Drednaught, president of The Grayer Slayers, a group of retirees who have become video-game aficionados with amazing lightning-fast coordination skills and killer tendencies.

   “If they get angry about Facebook, they’ll jump into these games, smash people to smithereens and make their opponents think they’re dealing with Vlad the Impaler!”

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Retirees – tormented by spouses who talk incessantly first thing in the morning – create social support club, take vows of silence and escape to park bench 3 mornings a week, merely nodding to each other


   “I couldn’t stand it!” said Joanna P. Jabberson of Sandy Tootsies, California. “I can’t shut Elmo up. He’s a nonstop chatterbox, especially right after he gets up, and it goes on for hours!”

   She added, “The only way most of us could get out of the house was to tell our husbands and wives that we’d joined a club. We call it the Order of the Rising Sun, and all our spouses know is that it’s a meditation group.

   “It’s saving our sanity!” she said.

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Facing a gossip and rumor mill?
Advice on how to quiet it down

Dear Sage:


I need advice on how to deal with some well-oiled wheels of gossip in my large retirement community, which I moved to just eight months ago. I am a widower in my 60s, in good health aside from a bad case of tennis elbow. A month ago, I was in the community’s restaurant wearing a brace. My

table mates wanted to know what was wrong, so I told them that I was being treated with physical therapy. When I mentioned the doctor’s name, they laughed, because two brothers with that last name in the area are both doctors (Dr. Knutt, and no, neither is a psychiatrist!).

One is an orthopedic surgeon and the other is a specialist in sexually transmitted diseases, which are not unheard of in retirement communities. Well, you can guess what happened. Word spread, details changed, and now some people are either 1. Joking about my STD or 2. Casting their eyes down when I pass, making me feel embarrassed. I don’t want this to spread more or be detrimental to my social life. How do I stop these little pockets of misinformation?

                                    – On Edge in North Carolina


Dear On Edge:


   Well, the Sage is not usually known for impertinence, but his first reaction – without reasonable thought – was that you could be a wise guy and tell these people that they’re off their Knutt, but they don’t sound astute enough to get the joke, let alone mature enough to absorb the sentiment, spend time on self-reflection, or consider the importance of responsible and fair behavior.

   Since you are in a close community, you probably want to take something of a high road here and avoid overly nasty retorts (tempting as it may be), such as, I’m cured. But can anyone really do anything about YOUR condition? … or … How do you know I’m not contagious? Better keep your distance, just in case – a few light years would be about the right distance.

   We digress. This is an issue to take seriously. Gossip, rumors, name-calling, backstabbing and mean-spirited exclusion are problems at many housing communities for seniors, at community centers and in assisted-living and nursing-home facilities. These issues amount to bullying, and can lead to social isolation, depression, anxiety, self-esteem problems, insomnia and other disorders – not to mention the destruction of someone’s reputation.

How to make friends and join
social groups in retirement

Dear Sage:


I have a universal question about making friends and joining social groups. Six months ago, we made the Big Move down south, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Naples, Florida. We bought a house in a 55-plus community and

are very interested in becoming part of a group of neighbors – four couples – who get together every week and laugh loudly enough to blow up hearing aids down to Marco Island. We’ve heard from others that these characters are masters of practical jokes, and we’ve chatted with them casually, while out on a walk or while working in the yard, and have been invited to one cocktail party with them. They all grew up together in the same town near Boston. We are wondering if there’s a way of penetrating this little network and getting in on the fun. Clearly they share many inside jokes, along with behavior that might appear to some to be a bit strange for 70-year-olds, such as grunting and other barnyard noises and a few odd but funny table habits – and that’s the women! Yet they have an unmistakable esprit de corps and an enviably generous system of mutual support. We feel at home with them. Can you please advise us?

                                                       -- Outside looking in


Dear Outside:


   Seriously? You’re from Michigan and you can really understand these people with their Boston accents? Or could it be that you’ve misunderstood and that they’re actually South Australia aboriginals who are speaking Pitjantjatjara? Having spent decades in Massachusetts, the Sage can assure you that there may be a negligible difference.

   To get a realistic sense of these folks, you might consider finding out if they are rabid Red Sox fans, who tend to be among the most loyal (and loud, and colorful) in the country. The Sage would suggest sitting in during a Red Sox vs. Yankees game with them, standing back about 50 paces and simply observing. Does the place quickly echo with yelling, catcalls and choice language, like the old Fenway Park bleachers? Do these people squirt Gulden’s Mustard or Sam Adams Boston Lager or Fenway Franks at the TV set whenever the Yankees score a run? Do they prowl the neighborhood between innings and start brawls with any known Yankees fans lurking about? Do the cops have to come with nightsticks? OK, not daily ballpark behavior, but hijinks have been known to happen now and then around Beantown.

   But enough about Fenway Follies. The Sage will assume that your observations about these four couples – and their level of maturity – are reasonable and accurate, and that their get-togethers are in the spirit of good fun. Perhaps they pull a practical joke by substituting a ball on a putting green with one that jumps and gyrates and can’t go in a straight line. Or send an official-looking letter to another neighbor saying that because of neighborhood energy restrictions, all dishwashing, laundry and flower watering must be done between 2 and 4 a.m. (hey, someone might end up out there in their PJs!).

The etiquette involved in offering
inoffensive, kind condolences 

Dear Sage:


Three weeks ago, my wife of 44 years passed away suddenly after a heart attack. I have received all manner of condolences, and in every imaginable form, many of them beautiful. But a couple had some pretty rough edges. “Damn, what a kick in the family jewels, Bob!” wrote one acquaintance in a card. "Look on the bright side -- no more trips to the mall!" The kicker came when I received

an email showing a cartoon of a shapely bathing beauty drinking a martini on the beach. With it a neighbor in my retirement community had written: “I got a female friend who’s always liked you and who I hear is terrific in many ways, wink, wink. Call me and I’ll give you her number!” Honestly, Mr. Sage, you’d think that people could just send a card, sign their name, and let it go at that – a nice thought and a show of concern. Period. I feel lucky to have received many tender words of shared sadness. But these other two kind of bothered me. Perhaps you might expound on the etiquette of condolences?


                                                    – Widower in Wichita


Dear Widower:


   First of all, the Sage would like to extend sincere condolences to you and your family for your loss. People often get tongue-tied or say idiotic things when they get nervous about expressing sympathy.

   Emily Post has been widely quoted as saying, “A letter of condolence may be abrupt, badly constructed, ungrammatical — never mind. Grace of expression counts for nothing; sincerity alone is of value.”

   So please keep that in mind as you reflect on these gaffes. Eventually, as you get through the grieving process and begin to see humor in more places, you may embrace these raw and memorable expressions of emotions as well-meaning, albeit laughingly inappropriate.

Does 'Mr. Cheapo' have an issue
or is he just being penny-wise?

Dear Sage:


My husband sometimes is the epitome of CHEAP! We are very blessed and have quite a bit of money saved, but he often tears off only half of a small paper towel to wipe the counter, re-uses coffee K-Cups, and orders the cheapest dish at restaurants, even if it’s deep fried yak meat in a hot dog bun; he orders from the Dollar Menu at McDonald's.

He jokes about this behavior, calling himself Mr. Cheapo. If I pass from this planet first, he will probably bury me in the tarp that’s over our wood pile in the back yard – and right next to the wood pile, so that he doesn’t have to get a cemetery plot. He’s very successful and otherwise has always seemed well-adjusted. He doesn’t skimp on cars, trips to see the kids, or house repairs, though. I don’t get it. Help!!!

                                            • Wife of the Idaho Cheapo


 Dear Mrs. Cheapo:


   When it comes to cheapskates – known in some circles as ‘underspenders’ – there is a huge difference between joking, frugality and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. While The Sage is not a psychiatrist – consult

one if you think you need one – you have to ask how detrimental or destructive the behavior is, if at all. The American Psychiatric Association, in its manual of mental disorders, mentions OCPD in terms of “(adopting) a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.” But the disorder also mentions preoccupation with minutiae, perfectionism that interferes with daily life, inflexibility, stubbornness and rigidity – among other debilitating character traits.

   Frugal people, on the other hand – and the vast majority of retirees count themselves among them – are able to enjoy life. They don’t take their trash bags to the local landfill, empty them into the dumpster, and bring them home to use again! They don’t go shopping for clothing, pick out a second-hand pair of sneakers at a thrift shop, and try to negotiate 50 cents off the $1.95 price because they have their own shoelaces! They are likely to shop for bargains when they can … they refuse to waste money … are willing to spend on necessary items so long as they are quality purchases … save money for, say, travel to visit grandchildren, patiently waiting until they find the air fare a great value … avoid impulse spending … and do their research before making a major buy.

Dear Sage:


This has got to be a new one, even on you! My 69-year-old Dear Husband got up one Sunday morning, started his usual half-hour routine in the bathroom (Lord know what he does in there!) and was cleaning his ears out when his cellphone beeped and he took a call from our

Is husband's behavior really
just normal forgetfulness?

daughter. It was just a how-ya-doin’ conversation, and they talked for fifteen minutes. Afterwards, he went out for his morning constitutional – and boy did he make a spectacle of himself! He ambled down our street, turned at the end, and walked through a crowd of a few hundred churchgoers leaving a service, many of them friends and acquaintances – with a Q-Tip sticking out of his ear and a big hole where his front upper dental bridge was supposed to go! This was the first time I’ve seen such absent-mindedness. Could this be a sign of dementia?

                                                                                                                                          • Upset in Upsala, MN

Dear Upset:


   You are correct about one thing – the Q-Tip incident is a new one on the Sage! We shall stay away from idiotic puns (‘She told you to stick it in your ear, huh, Joe?’ for example). Not to be insensitive, but there can be quite a bit of humor in forgetfulness, so long as it’s part of the NORMAL aging process. People have sat in the driver's

seat of their car, rifling through their pockets for the key, when it’s already in the ignition … driven off with a coffee cup, a lunch bag and a briefcase on top of the car … wondered where the hell their glasses were – when they were sitting right on their forehead … put the TV remote in the freezer next to the ice cream … left the house while talking on the cellphone with someone and then freaking out because he or she couldn’t find the phone anywhere … and paid for gas and then driven off without pumping it. We could go on and on and on, but we shall stop there.

   Now, the Sage is not a doctor and won’t make any attempt to assess your hubbie’s situation. If you are concerned about strange episodes or a pattern of odd behavior, you should contact your doctor for a diagnosis. But it’s worthwhile to provide information here from various experts to differentiate between dementia / Alzheimer’s versus normal forgetfulness. With the latter, we can all create strategies to live with early memory problems. But that’s often not possible with dementia.

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Latest trend? Spouses getting dogs trained to be backseat drivers in their absence, learning to bark when speed is too high or too low ... then jumping into front seat ... pressing imaginary brake pedal ... changing radio, volume and temperature knobs ... and howling about wrong turns


   “Our surveys consistently show that at least 99% of senior spouses don’t trust their husband or wife to drive competently,” said Aurelia Q. Crankshaft, president of AAA.

   “Many of them have trained their dogs to imitate their own yipping or yapping in the car,” she added. “And the dogs are doing a great job – so long as the drivers remember their hearing aids!”

                                                                       * * *

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Noted dancer/singer shows off new spouse wherever they go, even stopping on street corners to allow local residents to gawk at amazing status symbol – her trophy husband!


   “Rufus is the epitome of a disco stud!” gushed Ember Q. Schnooler of Deep Coal Soot, West Virginia. “Everyone talks about the ‘wow’ effect that we bring together wherever we go. I knew the first second that he was the one. He has amazing rhythm, a great voice and a gorgeous 70s wardrobe!”

   Added Rufus, “The women seem to drool all over me. Or maybe that’s me drooling. I don’t know. But whatever, I seem to make Ember happy.”


                                                                          * * *

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Many couples who fight like cats and dogs give it a rest during the holidays, showing soothing kindness and appreciation for each other as they re-energize before taking up battle positions again on Jan. 2


   “It’s uncanny. They have a sense that they need to behave like adults during the holidays!” said Dr. Shirley Q. Schrumpf, president of the American Psychiatric Association. “They have to de-stress and kick back, especially if they’re plain worn out.”

   But, she added, “There may well be a method to the madness for many couples: Neither person wants to give the other any ammunition by getting blamed for ruining the holidays – that could put a person at a severe disadvantage for the whole year!”

                                                                        * * *

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After years of torture as Boston commuter by the rudest, craziest drivers on the planet, retiree gets rush-hour revenge, pulling stunts like failing to proceed through green lights, moseying along at 6 mph on major arteries, straddling lanes and inching onto highway ramps


   “I never thought that being passive-aggressive would be such fun!” exclaimed city resident Germaine P. Schnookowitz. “They don’t like it when I speed by them in the empty lane before a work zone and then merge with traffic at the very last second … or make a left-hand turn from four lanes to the right … or hop lanes around the rotaries. Well, too bad, because the chumps did that to me for fifty years!

   “Hey, what’s wrong with taking up three spaces by parking sideways at an office building – or blocking the entrance to a huge garage? Who cares?

   “Not me!” she added, smiling.

                                                                   * * *

Husband enjoys weekend while wife is away, dropping dirty laundry on floor, leaving the seat up, licking peanut butter off knife, hogging the whole blanket, and arguing with himself over highway directions – and winning!

Wife wants to know how to get

husband buff and off his duff!

Dear Sage:


My Dear Husband underwent an angioplasty procedure last year and a stent was placed in one artery that had become partially clogged. His doctor yells at him during every office visit, telling him to exercise and lose 15 pounds. I’ll give my guy credit for one thing – he eats a fairly healthy diet and doesn’t sneak Devil Dogs or Ring Dings or Goobers chocolate-covered peanuts, largely because he knows that the kids and I will wash his mouth out with Bueller's Butt Kickin' Hot Sauce if he does.


The main challenge now is getting him to exercise, which is like trying to coax a jackass 20,310 feet up Mount Denali.

He develops – or imagines – aches and pains in his feet, thighs, knees, hips, back and points north, and every time he gets out of his chair he sounds like a moaning, bellowing moose mixed with a touch of squeaking hamster and mooing ox. The doctor says that a lack of exercise brings on this discomfort, as everything else is fine. How can I get my dear blockhead out and about and on a healthy track?


                                    Esther in Elk’s Breath, Michigan

Dear Esther:


   The Sage has spent a lot of time near Elk’s Breath over the years and marvels at the scenery, including beautiful aquamarine lakes with Caribbean hues, as well as crystal-clear streams and rivers. And he fondly remembers the restaurants where one can enjoy dry wheat toast with a dollop of cherry butter, a hard-boiled egg and a cup of coffee – much more sensible than the pancakes that are three feet in diameter and that come with eggs cooked in eight ounces of oily sludge, topped with sausages imprinted with the phone number and address of the local cardiologist. But he digresses.

   The Sage humbly assumes that Dear Hubby is more than healthy enough to get off his duff and get a little buff – and that emotionally he’s in good shape. If the doctor says that brisk walking, gardening, canoeing, swimming, cross-country skiing, tennis or golf are just fine, well, why not?



Don't bet on just the 'Net
to find retirement mecca!!!

Dear Sage:


My Dear Bride of 40 years has been scouring the Internet for our retirement mecca and has decided that she wants to move to a small town in Louisiana that’s on a little lake and that is known for having two attractive parks, a dozen nice restaurants, and very low taxes. It was on one of the countless best-places-to-retire lists, this one created by some website that I’ve never heard of that probably picked the only ten places it had photos of.

We are both water rats, having grown up on lakes in the Midwest, but our lakes are not part of a state that has 2 million alligators! Nevertheless, she’s convinced that this is our new Shangri-la. I, however, am far from persuaded, and am concerned that this could turn into a fiasco – way too abrupt a departure after decades in the same area of Minnesota. My thought would be to keep the moving van outside our new place for a week in case we have to turn right around and come back to our familiar surroundings. Better yet, I have encouraged her to rent down there for a year or for a few months and see if we like the area, but she thinks that would be a waste of money. She tells me to trust her intuition. Would you?


                                                   • Cold Feet in Minnesota

 Dear Cold Feet:


   The Sage suspects that you are not the only person to have cold feet in Minnesnowta, and he can certainly see why your wife yearns for warmer weather. However, he will not get in the middle of this disagreement, as he prefers not to become lunch for either the alligators or the Minnesota Vikings.

   However, given that the Vikings’ teeth are smaller and less sharp, he would tend to side with whichever one of you is preaching prudence, patience, research and many visits to your possible new love nest. Clearly he is going to play this one right down the middle. So …

   Any such move – including ones from one retirement spot to another – can be stressful, let alone one to a place that neither of you has even visited. So let’s start with three very basic questions:

Husband asks: why do wife's​ odd habits persist?

Dear Sage:


My wife, who spent the bulk of her career as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a major corporation, has been retired for two years, and I keep waiting for her to mellow. Many of the traits that made her an excellent professional have carried over into retirement, such as excessively meticulous planning. She will make a date with a friend, for example, and say that she will meet for lunch at 12:25, after an errand, and she’ll be there on the dot.

 When we visit relatives – even ones who are four hours away – we arrive within a five-minute window. Somehow! She takes care of the bills and investments and is fastidious about adhering to our monthly budget, checking it day by day. I keep telling her that she needs to chill out, even though she seems well-adjusted in many ways and has plenty of friends. Now, I’m not suggesting that she buy a pair of Birkenstock sandals, hitch a ride to the Coachella music festival in California, let her hair grow down to her ankles, go skinny-dipping in someone’s pond, take up the didgeridoo and chant with Tibetan monks. But this is more than a bit frustrating for me, and I don’t feel that I can ever relax. Help!!!


                                               – Worried in Wisconsin

Dear Worried:


   Not to be impertinent, but The Sage, wise as he is, wonders if it would be possible for your Dear Bride to visit him, as he has a tendency to miss the beginning of movies and TV programs by five minutes, thus finding himself confounded about the entire premise of the plot for the next hour or two. He also tends to be a little late for tee times and periodontal appointments … But he digresses.

   It is gratifying to hear that your wife is well-adjusted. It is entirely possible that she may be somewhat overly rigid and regimented, but that may make her comfortable and secure. There is such a thing as healthy perfectionism that motivates people to be meticulous (and respectful of others, as in being on time!). But taken to the extreme, you get into the sphere of obsessive-compulsive behavior, which can seriously reduce quality of life and require counseling and lots of loving support.

What is wrong with my

demanding neighbor???

Dear Sage:


We have an 86-year-old neighbor, a widow who’s usually kept to herself aside from an occasional wave, smile and basic hello. A month ago, she called me up and started to make demands. “I’m getting on,” she said the first time. “You need to take the trash out every Tuesday night and bring the barrel back in.” Which I did, figuring that a

physical disability had taken its toll. Then she started telling me to get the mail, bring it into her house, go through it with her, and write out checks for bills that had just arrived. Now her tone of voice is ever more strident, and she is ordering

me around in other ways – “Get over here and clean the toilets!” she shouted this morning. "And go to the grocery store, get some chicken and cook it for me.” I’m retired and certainly wouldn’t mind helping her – after all, she’s been decent over the years. But she’s becoming pretty demanding, and I hope she doesn’t turn into Cruella de Vil. What can I

do to help her – and me?

                             – Wit’s End in Walla Walla, Washington


Dear Wit:


   The Sage has heard countless stories about rotten neighbors. So far, it sounds as if yours has not been a beastly busybody who hates you and who is fond of leaving an open package of soft putrid limburger cheese in your brand-new car, correct? She has not dumped a month’s worth of trash in your living room, either, right? Has she set up massive speakers in the backyard blaring the theme song to Green Acres nonstop and left for the weekend? Thrown raw meat into your yard to attract coyotes, buffalos, black bears and other wild animals?

   Such acts – while not unheard of – nevertheless can provide perspective about degrees of reprehensible behaviors, and this woman’s place on that scale might not be at the farthest end of despicable.

    In all likelihood, she needs more than a little understanding and sympathy. It is possible that she is suffering from some kind of disorder – emotional, physical, or possibly both – that may require medical attention and a host of other types of care.

Is a new pet a good idea for a 76-year-old widow?

Dear Sage:


My Mom, a widow of eight years, is 76, and four months ago she lost her six-pound Yorkshire Terrier, a loyal and loving sidekick for 15 years. She loved that dog like no other creature on Earth, and I’ve never seen her so anguished as when she had to put poor Peachie down because of cancer. I can’t say that she’s gotten over this loss, as the grieving process seems to be

more of an emotional strain than even the deaths of immediate family members and close friends. I’m thinking about getting her a puppy for her birthday – not one that will grow to be half the size of New England and not another Yorkie; a look-alike could revive dispiriting memories of Peachie’s last days, plus a Yorkie puppy may be so small for Mom, with her less-than-perfect eyesight, that the little pooch might get lost in the pile carpeting and spend cleaning day fleeing the vacuum cleaner. Do you think that another dog could help bring back Mom’s usual vibrancy and her robust laugh? I see her all the time (we live in the same city) and I want to be certain that I’m barking up the right tree.


                                              – Pet Lover in Bangor, Maine



Dear Pet Lover:


   Ah, Bangor. The Sage has spent more than a bit of time in your beautiful city, where in the winter the local roads, no doubt, are still clogged at rush hour with St. Bernards carrying their humans to work in the snow. He has not been there in a few years but hears from sources that the place is crawling with multimillionaires who make their fortunes building huge backyard igloos and tunnels for people to walk their pets 11 months of the year. It is quite the pet-friendly city, ayuh!

   As for your situation, please accept kudos for showing such sympathy and concern for your mother – and for asking questions about whether you are doing the right thing, for both her and a new dog. Better to think it through than to go to the local pound, fall in love with a cute puppy, and present Mom with a pooch who will grow to 150 pounds, require 10 miles of daily running, and bark loudly enough to wake everyone from Boston to the Maritimes.

   There are multiple opportunities for her, but first, some background. AARP and others cite studies that show that pet owners enjoy lower blood pressure, stress and cholesterol levels than those without pets, and also have a lower risk of depression and heart attack. But the loss of a pet who has provided unconditional love for many years can be one of the most traumatic events at any age.

Is wife taking a chance

volunteering for hospice?

Dear Sage:


My Dear Wife has been researching potential volunteer activities in our community and has decided that spending time with hospice patients could be her best option. She has a small circle of close friends in the town we’ve lived in for 45 years, plays mahjong and cards and knits quilts. My father and her father were both in nursing homes, and she reminds me that she felt very comfortable as a caregiver and was able to use humor to brighten their day.

She’d say things like, ‘Well, looks like you won’t be pitching for the Red Sox this afternoon!” or, “A little slow today, huh? Will you have time to dress for the prom tonight?” She did seem to have a gift for humor without betraying her sense of dread as they approached the end of their lives. But she can be very emotional, and I’m concerned that she’ll become overwhelmed and get depressed and obsessed with death and spend a lot of time at wakes and funerals. Is my concern justified?


                             –  Jittery in Marblehead, Massachusetts

Dear Jittery:


   God bless your wife for thinking about joining thousands of others who help hospice staffs by sitting with patients, giving family caregivers a few hours to get away, assist with office tasks, do errands, cook meals and perform other functions. Will your wife fit in? It sounds as if she’s enthusiastic and has a great personality for such incredibly meaningful – and, for many, highly fulfilling – work. She will know soon whether this is the right fit for her, as will the hospice, but she seems to have a full life that offers plenty of variety and fun.

   Volunteering, by definition, is almost always aimed at helping people in need. Very few of us get to become consumer representatives called upon to test the seaworthiness of 80-foot yachts by sailing the Caribbean during shakedown cruises … or are recruited as wine taste-testers for, say, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 at $232,692 per bottle …  or get to escort best-actor and best-actress winners off the stage at the Oscars … or park Ferraris at the Paris auto show.

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   “What a great weekend!” said Horace P. Slothowitz of Sticky Sap, Vermont. “I turned the toilet paper roll backwards, too, and watched underwater boxing and the Beverly Hillbillies until 3 in the morning. And imagine – wow, I lived to tell about it!”

   “Well, barely!” added his wife, Adelaide. “The dope didn’t clean up the house before I got home. He’s in time out right now and is grounded for a month!”

                                                                          * * *

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Exhausted man wakes up at 5:15 p.m., 20 hours after an evening of listening to another retired couple call each other sickeningly sweet pet names, finish each other’s sentences, talk baby talk, blow air kisses, and joke incessantly about their matching sweatshirts


   “I can’t take this anymore!” lamented George Q. Snootz of Hell’s Half Acre, South Carolina. “I couldn’t eat my dinner. I’m a diabetic, and their conversation was so sweet that I could feel my blood sugar skyrocketing!”

   Mr. Snootz quickly fell back asleep for another 14 hours and promised his wife that he'd wear industrial-strength earmuffs if they ever got together with the same couple again.

                                                                     * * *

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Retirees hire telepathy guru to finish sentences for them when they lose their train of thought during senior moments – and when they can’t remember why they got up and walked into another room


   “She’s lightning fast and truly amazing with this sixth sense of hers,” said Muffin Q. Crumpitt of Squinty Hog, Oklahoma, who hires her for herself and for her guests during parties. “No one ends up embarrassed because she just finishes our sentences seamlessly.”

   She added, “The guru said it’s also pretty normal to get up and forget why you find yourself in another room. But she warned that people might want to pay extra attention if they go into a bathroom and draw a blank on why they’re there!”

                                                                       * * *

Seniors carry on longstanding family traditions by inviting all manner of relatives for traditional Thanksgiving dinners, then drink plenty of wine and give hearty thanks – for not having to see some of these miscreants for another year!

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   “Thank goodness this day will soon be over!” exclaimed Rusty Nayles of Dusty Boot, Arizona. “No more stupid uncle tricks, dumb arguments, insults or odd odors and noises gracing our dining room table. Now it’s back to normal for 364 more days!”

   Added his wife, Penny Nayles, “It’s the wine that gets me through these affairs. Truthfully I don’t remember much about the last 20 of them!”

                                                                         * * *

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Dog quickly asserts herself as head of household, trains human pet to observe numerous daily rituals at precise times, including six naps a day in the same stinky socks 


   “My owner has an innate sense of time to the minute,” said the pet, Roderick Q. Dormattz of Odor Eaters, Tennessee. “I have been trained to be exact – on-the-dot meal time, walk time, treat time, bedtime, you-name-it time.”

   He added, “Now if only I can get my owner to pay the bills, cook the meals, vacuum dog hair, pick up the gifts I get to bag during our walks, and file the taxes as head of household, well, I will have the perfect owner, and I’ll be as snug as a pug on a rug.”

                                                                      * * *

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Residents rejoice as 20-minute rainfall obscures Phoenix sun for the first time in 11 months; city declares state of emergency and designates 'Arizona snow day,' closing schools, businesses, government offices and highways

   “Drivers – especially seniors – are hereby ordered to stay off slick city and state highways,” announced Mayor Roscoe Q. Tumbleweed. “Visibility has been extremely poor and driving would be suicide.”

   Meanwhile, residents of numerous retirement communities were celebrating.

    “We’re singing and dancing in the streets because we’ve been fried by the blazing sun for nearly a year!” said one resident.  “This is so easy on the eyes and we don’t need a quart of sunscreen for once!!”

                                                                        * * *

Man shrinks two inches every time he walks with his grandson, is expected to be same height as child within just a few months, doctors warn


   “Boy, it’s tough to bend down like that, but I’ll do anything for little Charlie,” said Romulus Q. Stoops of Slimy Algae, Georgia.

   “We love to see him as often as possible, and now it’s once a month,” added his wife, Priscilla. “That’s probably a reasonable frequency, or Romulus would be face to face with Charlie’s knees in no time!”

                                                                     * * *

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Uh-oh! Husband now a newly retired freeloader!

Dear Sage:


My husband retired three months ago. We took a two-week trip right afterwards, and then the frustrations began. He claims he’s joking when he criticizes me if I miss a spot with the vacuum or the kitchen mop, but it’s getting annoying. He says I am 

buying the wrong peanut butter for his lunches. He turns on the TV at 7 a.m. and sits around watching cartoons and soap operas. When I go out for the day and I ask him to do the laundry, he mixes the colors with the whites and leaves them dripping wet in the washer all day, so that they smell as if they’ve just come out of the New England Patriots locker room. I have to push him to get up and do anything. He says he’s just taking some well-earned time off after 45 years of working. How do I deal with the love of my life now that he has morphed into this freeloader?


                           – Frustrated in Frostproof, Florida

Dear Frustrated:


   Ah, the age-old problem that affects tens of millions of households eventually: A husband or a wife retires and sits around the house as if he or she owns the place! You need to take this by the horns and indoctrinate your better quarter in the new reality – the updated rules of loving togetherness!

Help! Hubby ready to crack open the nest egg! 

Dear Sage:


We are four months into retirement, and my husband is licking his chops as he checks on our 401(k) and other savings, and I’m worried that he might pounce on our modest but comfortable savings like a vulture. I remind him that we did not win the lottery and that we need to follow the conventional wisdom and limit ourselves to withdrawing roughly 3 or 4 percent of our retirement funds per year. But he’s saying things like, ‘Hey, can’t we take out just an extra $5,000 or $10,000?’ And I tell him, ‘Fine, we’ll do that next time you get through a night without snoring like a bull moose and the next time you clean your john.’ After all, we could live 30 years and will face major costs for health care, house repairs, cars and other normal expenses, plus I would like to leave part of our nest egg to our children and grandchildren.  


Hubby is talking about joining a country club. He’s scouring travel sites for European cruises. He mentions expensive restaurants, theater tickets, a boat, and a man cave bigger than the state of Rhode Island. I tell him that if he spends too much of this money, he’ll be so stressed that he’ll end up in an urn on our mantle, likely with my assistance. Help!!!


                                                     -- Terrified in Texas


Dear Terrified:


    If you are truly worried that Dear Hubby may go off the deep end, you might consult a mental health professional to prevent an emotional disorder that could lead to serious impulse control issues and financial Armageddon. If he is otherwise healthy mentally, you might do well to set strict and realistic spending guidelines, perhaps with a financial expert. Good choice: Someone who played for the Cowboys, who weighs 350 pounds and is 7-feet-six, and who promises to drop by once a week just to check on things.

Move near the kids? Don't kid yourself!

Dear Sage:


We have lived in Arizona for three years, and our daughter and son-in-law are three months away from the birth of our first grandchild. My Dear Bride is going a little coo-coo over this (in my humblest of opinions) and saying that we must move to Seattle to be near them. She has started to scour the real estate listings and thinks that it would be just fine if we downsized from our small two-bedroom home outside of Tucson to a small one-bedroom condo that typically appears to be about the same size as a quasi-respectable walk-in closet. I am reluctant to leave our friends here, along with the neighborhood get-togethers, an occasional round of golf, the social clubs, half our furniture, and, of course, the sunshine (not to rain on my wife’s parade in Seattle, so to speak!). Is this move a good idea?


                                     --Jonah and Mona in Arizona


   Dear J/M:


   Ah, grandparenting! It can be the most satisfying part of family life that you ever experience. Just think: Norman Rockwell holiday dinners, weekend get-togethers, day trips to the zoo, or to an amusement park, or to the mountains or the beach. The chance to baby-sit, spoil the kid rotten, and send him back to your son after giving him a massive sugar high. How sweet will all this be, eh?

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Johns Hopkins researchers believe that Missouri man has been reincarnated as Shar-Pei, with same expressions, mannerisms, stubborn streak, tendency to bark at strangers – and exactly the same hat


   “My husband, Elmer, passed away two years ago,” said Sadie Q. Rinkelshaus of Show Me Something, Missouri. “When I was walking around the neighborhood and ran into this dog, he came running up to me with his tongue sticking out and started licking me all over. And then he barked nonstop, looking for food, just like Elmer. I just know it was him!”

   Scientists at Johns Hopkins carefully compared personality, habits, voice and other characteristics between Elmer and the pooch.

   “Yup, it’s him, all right,” they reported. “The only difference is that Elmer wasn’t always 100% housebroken.”

                                                                           * * *

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Woman discovers that grandmother invented the word ‘Eewwww’ as writing on back of photo indicates that grandfather used to clip toenails in bed and use the bathroom with door open

   “I married the same kind of barbarian!” said Irma Q. Grosswiler of Rusty Still, Kentucky. “Cripes. It must be in the genes. What the hell was I thinking?”

   She added, “ ‘Eww’ doesn’t begin to describe it. He even uses my toothbrush sometimes, just like Grandpa. I wish we had separate bathrooms – or, better yet, separate houses!”

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Retired Canadian hockey players flood Arizona, Florida 55-plus communities and hockey rinks, prompting local dentists to lick their chops over extra business and major implant opportunities.


   “These guys just can’t stop skating, no matter what their age,” said S. Cary Needleman, D.D.S., president of the American Dental Association. “Our members are working 18-hour days, six days a week, and they’re booked five months out. They’re exhausted, but they’re also buying waterfront condos in the Caribbean with all this money.”

   Needleman added that the association is trying to recruit dental surgeons from around the world to ‘fill the gaps.’

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Toddler kept entertained as visiting grandparents methodically go through two-hour morning routines, sighing and groaning, hair like squirrels’ nests, knocking on bathroom door and hollering ‘emergency!’ every five minutes


     “Once Daisy got over the initial shock of seeing her great-grandfather grousing and squinting in the daylight and inching blindly toward the coffeemaker, she had a ball,” said the girl’s mother, Francine Q. Snoodnik of Alligator Breath, Florida. “She’s laughing nonstop now, and it’s just day two.

   “We may want to extend the week-long visit,” she added.

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Husband wakes up after 8 hours, jokes that he's sore in all 850 muscles and 360 joints and feeling as if he’s just been sacked by half the Pittsburgh Steelers defense – after wild night of bland chicken, a little ice cream and 8 p.m. rerun of The Honeymooners


   “Back in the day I could party like a madman, eat wings and spicy Mexican food and hotdogs and beer nuts and fried pickles, washed down by ten beers, and I’d feel better than I do this morning!” said Ralph Q. Hurtzalautz of Dusty Boots, Colorado.

   “Now I can’t even find a comfortable sitting position, let alone get out of the chair and go to the damn john!”

                                                                        * * *

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Retirees’ pets dread birthdays, holidays and other embarrassing dress-up occasions – even chew up calendars, drag costumes into the trash, and bury mobile phones in backyards to stop electronic reminders of such events


   “They are trying all sorts of methods aimed at making people forget the holidays!” said Seymour Hyding, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “They will do anything to avoid getting humiliated in front of their peers. Retirees are the biggest offenders, because they have more time.”

   He added, “We are busiest right before birthdays and holidays, not to mention Halloween, with phones ringing off the hook. People think something’s horribly wrong with their pets – they say they’ve never heard such whining, hiding under beds or other odd behaviors.”

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Retirees from Florida to Arizona and beyond haul out parkas, hoods, hats, gloves and scarves as major arctic air mass sends temperatures plunging to 65 degrees overnight


   “I’m pretty sure that I could see my breath when I went out to get the paper this morning!” said Harry Glands of Sunken Dinghy, California.

   Added his son, Solon Glands: “I think from what I’ve seen that the old set starts shivering when the temperature drops to the same number as their age, and my Dad is 80. Mom is 84. I think maybe I’ll start a business selling parkas on the beach when the temperature drops below 90.”

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Couple feels as if they have a new lease on life as husband sets personal record by getting up only three times to use the john overnight – for the first time in years


   “I can’t believe how rested we feel!” exclaimed Bartholomew Q. Battleschmear of Crooked Boot, Montana. “Poor Daisy and I are usually awakened four or five times by my nighttime wanderings, but this – this was heaven!”
   “It was phenomenal!” added Daisy. “I think I’ll have to take only two or three naps today. This could change our lives if it becomes a routine!”

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Children enlarge their parents’ wedding photo as 50th anniversary gift so that couple in their golden years can fondly recall the blessed day – the happiest, cheeriest and most euphoric moment of their 51 years together


   “Wow! Can you believe that Mom and Dad were this happy when they got married?” one of the couple’s two daughters asked her brother. “This is truly amazing – I mean they were obviously so much in love and totally enraptured!”

   “I agree!” exclaimed her brother. “I don’t think I ever saw Elmore and Sigrid Grimbus this elated! Who knew?”

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Retired character actors, still reeling from bringing up their daughter, get poetic justice by giving 5-year-granddaughter secret acting lessons on how to behave like 2-year-old and pitch annoying little snit fits


   “This kid is going to be great – almost as bad as our daughter!” said Hawkeye Q. Hambone of Sty Sludge, Iowa. “She’ll throw tantrums at home, at the mall, at parties, in church, you name it – and then laugh and tell people that she was just kidding!”

   Added his wife, Penelope, “We taught her how to do this all in good fun – largely with facial expressions and with a little annoying whining – but in a way where her mother is mortified through at least part of it.”

   Hawkeye smiled at their achievement. “She’ll get a week at Disney World every year so long as our daughter calls and says she’s at wit’s end with this kid!”

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Wife accompanies husband to doctor because he doesn’t hear a damn thing she says, discovers that he doesn’t need new hearing aids after all – the earpieces he has now are actually ear plugs


   “I’ll kill him!” said Boomquifa Q. Yelin of Upchuck, Missouri. “He bought these things six years ago when he retired. No wonder he doesn’t hear a word I say! The doctor said that this is common – wives don't listen, either, at this stage of life. Spouse talk is just background noise!”

   Her husband, Enoch, said that he got tired of hollering back and forth from different rooms in the house and having to get up constantly from his easy chair to go find out what she wanted.

   “I’ve just been nodding and grinning for six years,” he told the doctor after getting a perfect score on a hearing test.

   The doctor said that spouses' tuning out was common in about 98% of retiree households.

   “I think maybe I’ll start looking around for a specialist who can implant invisible plugs,” said Enoch, and Boomquifa vowed to do the same.

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After a prohibitively expensive first year, motorhome couple enjoys second year of the RV life by driving up and down their 50-foot driveway, reducing gas cost to $1,200 a month


   “We could have stayed at the Ritz last summer for what we had to pay on the durned thing!” said Fauntleroy J. Cucumber of Upper Bumpkin, Verrmont. “I know that a lot of people love this lifestyle, but for us it was too much of a fortune on insurance, taxes, new tires, repairs, campground fees, utilities – oh, and the mortgage. Eesh!”     

   Added his wife, Jezebel, “We can’t sell it because we’d lose our shirts with the depreciation, so we don’t bother to insure it and don’t have to pay these other fees. Luckily, we have a short driveway!”

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Overheated retired Arizona cyclist rides 20 miles in 110-degree heat, stops for water break, and misses his target – managing to hydrate only his helmet.


   “Damn, I did it again!” said Alphonsus Q. Gearhedd of Rickety Wagon Wheel, Arizona. “Last week I did a great job hydrating my ears, and the week before that I squirted the guy behind me.”

   His wife, Letitia, just shook her head.

   “I’m not surprised that he did it again. I hope he’s OK. He’s getting to the age where he can’t aim a damn thing!”

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Neatnik couple finds bliss by sharing household chores, tossing coin each morning to see who gets to degrease garage floor and oven for the day, and who wins the right to do windows, johns and dirt crawl space

    “We know that chores and cleaning duties are a major source of conflict for most couples, but we just can’t wait to get up in the morning and go at it!” said Xavier Q. Speckless of Tidy Bowl, South Dakota.

   Said Joanna, his wife: “Some couples are both slobs. And in others you have one slob and one fussy person. But we are truly unique – the only thing we really argue about is who gets to flip the coin and call heads or tails each morning!”

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Grandparents honor their daughter’s request to allow baby Alyssa to learn independence and feed herself, discover that for every pound of fruit, roughly one bite makes its way into child’s mouth


   “It will be nice when a spoon is involved and we don’t have to buy two hundred pounds of fruit every weekend she visits!” said grandmother Sadie Q. Goopchnoz of Center Seaweed, New Hampshire. “This stuff gets thrown all over the white tile and the walls.”

    “Hey, I can’t think of a better reason for taking out a reverse mortgage in retirement,” added her husband, Harvey. “The industrial-strength cleanings are costing a fortune, too.”

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Couple releases official 40th anniversary portrait with yawn – the happiest shot taken during 2 hours of bickering over thermostat settings, empty toilet paper rolls, and proper methods of loading the dishwasher and folding the laundry


   ‘I’ve never seen anything like this!” said the photographer, Elias Q. Shlapshautt of Cracked Lobster Shell, Maine. “They were like 5-year-olds -- nyah nyah this, nyah nyah that. Tough to shoot through razor eye slits, jaw drops, flared nostrils, squints, and eyeballs rolled up into their heads.”

   Amazed, he added, “The oddest thing was that when they were done, they walked out hand in hand and smiled at each other. Go figure!”

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Former high school gymnastics coach leads new ‘Basic Stretching and Balance’ class at senior club for two minutes – before participants begin making emergency calls to physical therapists and orthopedic specialists, and consider notifying next of kin


   “He’s newly retired, and I think he misread our physical limitations,” said association President Horatio Q. Stiffens of Bilgewater, California. “Some of us have a tough enough time raising our hand without falling over, let alone this!”
    The instructor, who had been hired to lead a simple limber-up class, reportedly said after he had been let go, “Cripes, can’t these people do simple pushups, lunges, handstands and squats? It’s not as if I had asked them to do triple flips off the balance beam, or fly over the vault backwards with a 2½ twist, or do four somersaults at the same time during floor exercises.”
   The instructor sped away on his BMX stunt bike and was last seen doing triple back flips on it through the Sierra Nevadas.


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New condo association president in Fried Pickle, Arkansas, gets a little full of himself, rents local cathedral and invites Archbishop of Canterbury to preside over coronation


   “I will be transported on a Cleopatra-style palanquin made of gold, platinum and diamonds and be carried by subjects who are late on their monthly HOA dues!” said Roscoe Q. Rexwinkle, who added that he would assume the name King Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Waldo David Roscoe VIII.

   After taking the oath, receiving the archbishop’s blessing, and presiding on the throne, he will proceed by horse-drawn carriage with his invested wife, Queen Fifi. The royal couple will wave to their subjects from their condo balcony, which overlooks the association’s dumpsters.

   Observers are hoping that his reign sets a world record for brevity.

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Seniors from local jogging club take steps in standard, age-appropriate, two-inch increments, finally finish Thanksgiving 5K race right after Labor Day


   “Hey, at least we didn’t get lapped by this year’s runners!” said Arthur Itys of Pothole Fill, Rhode Island. “People may laugh, but we’re in pretty good shape and totally elated after all this exertion!”

   The race’s cardiologist, Steven ‘Skip’ A. Beatt, was called in after organizers calculated that the final finishers had made it the last hundred yards in four days, twenty-two hours, and eighteen minutes.

  He pronounced them all fit and suggested that they enjoy a bowl of Rhode Island quahog chowder, rest up for a week and get a three-month head start on this year's race.

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North Carolina ophthalmologist, exhausted from reading seniors’ shaky chicken-scratch handwriting on endless medical forms, says he can no longer see straight, decides to retire and rest his eyes for a few years


   Dr. Harold A. Stigma, who was too overworked to enjoy his relaxing hobby – memorizing his treasured medical journals in the evening – recently closed up shop, hopped a plane, and parked himself in a lounge chair on a Caribbean beach.

   “Is that the ocean I hear? Are those waves breaking on the shore?” he asked, his eyes blissfully shut. “I’d like to check into a hotel, but if I have to fill out any forms, forget it! I couldn’t even read the top line of the eye chart in my office right now!

    “I’m just staying in this chair until someone finds me an ophthalmologist to straighten this out!!!

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Dogs like Schnookums are fleeing to their own safe havens from retirees’ incessant and annoying baby talk, going beddy-bye and night-night until din-din.


   “These high-pitched, sing-song, exaggerated tones are driving these poor dogs nuts!!!” said Seymour Hyding, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “It’s one thing if you’re training or playing or rewarding your pet, but after a while the pooch needs a pair of industrial-strength earmuffs!”

   Not everyone agreed.

   “Well, then, it should be nappy time for these doctors,” scoffed one pet lover, Amy Q. Barkauskas of Rotten Sneaker, Minnesota. “That wouldn’t be fair to my wittle angel puss Boopsie!”


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Retirees across the country are living the dream, learning the laid-back, stress-free game of golf and savoring the bucolic scenery and the tranquility of a soothing new passion


   “I never had time for golf during my busy medical career, but now I can go out there and have the time of my life anytime I like!” said Dr. Rufus Q. Putterdoodle of Deep Divot, Oklahoma.

   Added his wife, Helga-Jo, “This golf has turned out to be a boon for my art, too. I’ve started a sculpture garden in the front yard with his busted clubs, and golf enthusiasts from all over the state are coming to see what we’ve made together out of this relaxing sport. Even Golf Digest came by to interview us last week!”

   “The only problem,” she said, “is that we may need a bigger yard very soon!”

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With just one TV in their home, husband is subjected to daytime talk shows and the Hallmark Channel, hasn’t watched one TV program he likes since Laugh-In in 1972.


   “I try to outlast her – sometimes staying up all night and not even bothering to shower and shave, hoping to get a mere glimpse of professional wrestling or soccer,” said Melvin X. Tellio of Upton Snodsbury, Worcestershire, England, a town near North Piddle for those who may need a reference point. “But Maggie is right there with me every second, and here comes Judge Judy, and then Dr. Phil, and then reruns of the damn Gong Show!

   “Someday she’ll forget to say, “Don’t you dare change that channel!” when she makes a trip to the bathroom or the kitchen, but so far, damn it, she still remembers every time!” 

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Woman finds it sweet that man proposes to her after two electrifyingly potent beach cocktails, then reminds him, “We’ve been married for 52 years, you idiot!”

    “Boy, was he snockered!” said Daisy Hamm of Pork Shoulder, Iowa, as her husband lay on a couch in their cruise-ship cabin two days later with an ice pack on his head. “We’re used to just one occasional glass of wine and I think these sneaky drinks had six or seven ounces of pure booze. I could finish only a quarter of one, and I was pretty tipsy.”
   Her husband, Smithfield Hamm, moaned, groaned, and drank enough water to keep Poland Springs in business for a month.
   “Well, at least Daisy can’t say that I have bad taste in women,” he whispered.

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For normal retirees who can’t remember who they’ve told certain stories to, this couple – for twenty bucks and dinner – will laugh uproariously during your social gatherings and make guests feel lucky to have heard your jokes, even if for the twentieth time!


They are booked every night through 2032.

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   Meet the Human Laugh Track of Phoenix. They can be invaluable at parties and even during dinners with friends whom you’ve known for forty years. Whenever you tell a story, they howl and guffaw, and say things like “That’s one of the funniest things we’ve ever heard!” or, “Amazing – did you do standup comedy at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas?”

   The goal is to make your acquaintances think they’re spending time with a celebrity.

   The couple expects to create a nationwide Human Laugh Track. According to their business plan, based on in-depth studies of demographics and market needs, they expect millions in profits with as many as 50,000 employees.

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Retired English professor, a strong believer in talking to plants, whispers the first 20 lines of Beowulf, then watches in horror as weeds immediately sprout around her and flowers and plants curl up and die


   “It can’t be that wonderful 3,182-line Old English poem that all students just love – it must be something about my voice, or my tone, or whatever!” said a disappointed Lily Rime-Curdle of Creeping Vine, England.

   Dr. Rime-Curdle was rescued after the weeds grew around her neck.

   “She’da been better off talking in Latin,” said one firefighter. “The noise the flowers made was like a dragged-out, horrifying, final death rattle. Cheesis, that Beowulf stuff would kill every living thing within a fifty-mile radius!”          

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80-year-old woman digs deep hole in backyard to bury husband’s Viagra, saying, ‘It’s either the damn pills or ME that’ll end up down there!’


   “Waldo just got a prescription two weeks ago, and he’s been chasing me around the house day and night! Enough!!! complained Marjorie P. Willey of Lower Backache, Kentucky.

   “I want to get rid of these things forever,” she added. “For God’s sake, a peck on the cheek at Christmas or even a handshake would be just fine at our age!”

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Golf widow sets up challenging practice range in back yard so that hubby can practice to his heart’s content without continuing to drain the last of couple’s savings


   “I know he loves this and wants to spend all of his time on it, so let him swing away!” said Dolores Q. Tuffflye of Black Gnat, Kentucky. “As for me, I have plenty of time to do the laundry, mop the floors, clean the johns, do the dusting, rake the leaves, clean the gutters, mow the lawn, pay the bills, feed and walk the dog, cook the meals, clean the kitchen, paint the house and install a new septic system.”

   Mrs. Tufflye expressed only one regret.

   “I don’t have a chainsaw to keep the yard real neat, so I’m thinking of asking for one at Christmastime!”

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Green Valley, Arizona, retirees dispatch posse to offer ‘friendly warnings’ to anyone who calls after 8 p.m. and wakes them up


   “We got some pretty old residents here, and we’re real busy already since we started this little posse six months ago,” said CEO Amos Q. Stockenbarral.
   “We give ’em a polite warnin’ first time. If they call agin after 8 and wake the resident up, well, it ain’t yet no hangin’ offense, but we threaten a week in Florida in all that muggy heat.
   “Here in Arizona we'll take a hunerd and fifteen and dry any day!” he added, coughing a big, fiery cloud of dust.

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Couple celebrates 60th anniversary, attributes ‘blissful’ marriage to 59½ years of self-induced amnesia and massive wine cellar


   “I recall a beautiful six-month courtship and then I’ve pretty much forgotten the rest!” said Sofia Q. Fogginario of Floating Cork, South Dakota. “I never remember having had a single argument, or even a minor squabble. I guess this has been a perfect marriage!”

   “Such a glorious life! I forever agree with your every word, dear,” added her husband, Luigi.

    The happy couple believes that they celebrated their anniversary with a trip to Italy, but they’re not sure.

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As children finally leave the nest, retired Baby Boomers turn competitive obsessions to pets, battling for bragging rights about their intelligence and hiring consultants to ensure that they get into the most highly selective kennels


   “A lot of these people, especially the ‘helicopter parents’ who just cannot let go and who keep hovering over their kids, are taking photos and polishing their pets’ resumes,” said Julia Q. Taelwagga, president of the National Association of Kennel Admissions. “They’re listing athletic conquests, emotional intelligence and personality traits – and are hiring top experts to write admissions essays.”

   “It’s getting very competitive, and frankly we’re starting to worry that the FBI will have to investigate bribery, fraud, criminal conspiracy or money laundering!” she added.

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Clearwater condo association hires resident ‘enforcer,’ a retired Latin teacher who tortures rule violators by forcing them to memorize vocabulary, conjugate verbs and parse sentences


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   “Heaven help you if you mispronounce words or get the first conjugation, active voice, indicative mood wrong!” warned Aurelia Q. Romadivisa, a resident whom the association tapped five years ago to keep the peace.

   “She certainly is effective,” sighed one resident, who had been sentenced to a year and a half of Latin for snoring too loudly and for several other infractions.
   “She made me write on the blackboard 100 times, “Et non est in aliquis scriptor park macula” (I won’t park in someone else’s spot) … “Ego canis non mea puppis in flores” (I won’t let my dog poop in your flowers) … and “Vir sapit qui play music non ego autem tamquam stultus supersonic jet moron” (I won’t play music louder than a supersonic jet like a stupid moron).
   Sources say almost no rules are broken anymore.


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Man becomes bored after a week of retirement, surprises wife by getting a start on all the house projects they dreamed of during their working years


   “I don’t understand it!” said Joshua Q. Demoe of Brimstone Corners, Vermont. “We talked about redoing the whole house. So I did, while Bridget was visiting her mother for a weekend. And now she is saying that we should have planned this together??? Hell, we’ve been planning this for 20 years!”

   Added Bridget, “He gutted just about everything! The place looks like the wrecking ball has been through it. There are tools everywhere – I even found a hammer in a toilet and an axe stuck in the refrigerator door! And it looks like he took a chainsaw to our walk-in closet, and even sliced through some of my clothes!

   “I wasn’t expecting to live naked in a tent during our golden years!" she added.

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Owners of breakfast diner let loose after 16 seniors move tables together, order coffee, talk for four hours and run up bill of 89 cents apiece as Sunday morning waiting line extends around block


    “I don’t know how we’re going to stop this!” exclaimed diner owner Rodney Q. Whippowitz of Rusty Bumper, Montana. “We couldn’t get through to these people, in a diplomatic way, that we’re trying to run a business. For heaven’s sake, don’t be cheap and eat breakfast at home and then come in here!”

   Added Montezuma P. Dawdledorf, a local resident, “We waited three hours and this is the only game in town. I’d hate to have to drive seventy-five miles to the next restaurant, in Cracked Egg, but it sure would save time!”

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Loving couple, at each other’s side 24 hours a day for decades, shares everything – including a horrendous cold that they’ve given one another back and forth since 2012


   “We just can’t shake it!” said Joe Jezunteit of Donnybrook, North Dakota, opening the couple’s fourth box of tissues of the day. “Emily and I can’t stand to be apart, and we’re in this for better or for worse, and for the last few years it’s pretty much been for worse. But I’ll be darned if I leave her side, especially when she’s so sick!”

   Scientists have reported that people can, indeed, catch the same cold again, depending on their immune response, but usually just once.

   Said a researcher at the University of Michigan. “If the Jezunteits would just disinfect the house, wash their hands, not sneeze or cough at each other, and get the hell out of the house for a week – or at least sleep in a different room for a few nights – they could build strength and break this cycle! This is unique in the annals of medicine. I don’t think that even Ripley’s would believe it!”

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Man who splits time between Phoenix and Miami – and who says that he absolutely loves the heat and humidity – takes vacation to Antarctica in May and stays through September ‘for no particular reason. Really. I swear!’


   Joel Eisberg, a computer genius who retired at age 46, says that after a couple of summers in each sunbelt city, “I wanted to travel, just for a week’s change of scenery, even though it was such a sacrifice to leave those exquisite 120-degree days in Phoenix and the 99 percent humidity in Fort Myers.”

   Mr. Eisberg insists that he was not escaping oppressive weather like many snowbirds.

   The day he left Phoenix, it was 118 degrees, and Antarctic neighbors say that he got off the plane, dove into the first ice hole he saw on the way to the camp, and has been there 16 hours a day ever since.

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Couple recalls early marriage years when they adopted puppy they were told would forever remain a loving ‘little lap dog,’ finally expect to pay off 60-year loan to Purina next year


   “Phew! We’ll finally be out of this debt!” exclaimed Phyllis Z. Mutschelknaus of Flea Bag, Mississippi. “The breeder showed Li’l Bit to us a puppy and swore he’d never grow more than a few pounds. Hell, the dog food cost more than our own food for years!”

   Added her husband, Wilbur, “We loved our guy to pieces and we’ve missed him terribly. He ate us out of house and home, and ate half the house, too, but we’ve had a tough time letting go. His ashes are right with us in the living room inside a floor-to-ceiling urn!”

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Couple throws caution (and their clothes) to the wind in area that’s deserted — except for 200 members of church group gathered for picnic at campground to the side!


   “What an embarrassment!” said nudist Shirley Goode Heavens of Snarky Bullfrog, Tennessee. “To make matters worse, we discovered that there was no ladder on the dock, and we had to trudge through a hundred feet of muddy swamp back to our camper!”

   Added her husband, Elroy, “Once we got dressed, about a hundred of the picnickers came over with brochures warning us about the evils of lust..Kind of hard to think about lust with 50 pounds of mud on ya, but who knows — it might be fun!”

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Penny-pinching Homeowners’ Association in massive St. Petersburg condo complex refuses to let volunteer accountant buy tax software for $39.99, requires him to do financials in pencil with old adding machine.


   Reports surfaced this week that the volunteer, Calvin 'Cal' Q. Leighter, has been told that he must use a pencil until it is no more than one inch long, and then turn it in for a new one in the HOA president’s office, under strict supervision.

   “We cannot afford to raise our fees!” one HOA board member told him. “In fact, we haven’t raised them in 48 years!”

   Mr. Leighter also uses old yellowed paper, ledger books, a Rolodex, the association’s mimeograph machine, and an old manual Royal Typewriter, though he cannot count on the latter because the keys for the zero, dollar sign and number seven are missing.

   Instead he has been doing the monthly and annual financials by hand, and he would be more likely to win a hieroglyphics contest than one for hand-writing.

   He recently picked up the office’s rotary phone and announced his upcoming retirement to all board members.

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Long Beach woman earns distinction among 6 million ‘vertically challenged’ retirees across country by winning competition for number of seat cushions required to see over steering wheel


   Sofia Dimini, who described her height as ‘somewhere south of seven feet and north of one and a half,’ beat all other male and female contenders by using six seat cushions – after Motor Vehicle Department examiners told her that it would likely be a safety hazard for a person to drive ‘when his or her eyes basically are level with the floor mats.’

   Mrs. Dimini also was required to install customized extra-long pedal extenders.

   One part of her car that did not need adjustment was the horn, which she uses liberally, especially during snowbird season.

   “I’m having more fun honking than taxi drivers used to have in New York City,” she said. “Patience is one hell of a tall order around here, if you’ll pardon the pun.”

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Wife of new retiree who’s averse to sharing household chores buys him ticket for freefall jump, is dismayed to learn that package includes parachute and experienced tandem instructor


   “This guy has now been retired for six months and I can’t budge him. He’s driving me nuts!” said Jasmine Q. Deertick of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “He doesn’t leave the house, he makes a mess in every room, he has no hobbies, talks to his friends over the computer, and thinks he’s entitled to a vacation for the rest of his life. Baloney!”

   She added, “I’ll figure something out. I have a list – a ticket for solo waterfall kayaking in Niagara, wingsuit flying in the Alps, admission to the head of the line for the running of the bulls in Spain … At the very least, I’ll get the chump out of the house!”


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Man joins loving wife for full day of mall shopping after she promises him big surprise at night, and he ends up getting lucky – she takes out the trash for the first time in months!


   “Boy, that was one of the most stimulating evenings I’ve had in I don’t know how long!” said Hashtag Q. Shawpmeister of Turtle Neck, Massachusetts. “I was able to watch the entire half hour of network news, and then caught a basketball game. This was even better than Christmas!”

   Added his wife, Schartzmugel: “I’m so happy that Hashtag had such a wonderful evening. He was so flabbergasted. It was truly thrilling to watch!”

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Women discovering that bathing in backyard barrels and using composting outhouses makes them feel infinitely cleaner than following husbands in indoor bathrooms


   “Separate bathrooms are the key to a happy marriage in retirement!” said one woman, Marlene Z. Tubbit of Pickle Gap, Arkansas. “George takes forever in our one indoor bathroom, leaves it an unholy mess, never washes his towel and sets rock-bottom standards for the worst habits you can imagine. So I got this backyard setup!

   “Out here I don’t have to wait an hour to take a shower. And I love the glorious sounds of the songbirds and the chickadees and the wind gently rustling the leaves of the trees. It’s one heck of a lot better than listening to him sing the theme song to Green Acres off-key and announce his presence in ways that would make you think we had a herd of moose in that bathroom!”

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Couple celebrates as they awaken from rare great night’s sleep after dinner with friends – fellow retirees who didn’t mention even one word about aches, pains, medications or doctor visits!


   “What a breath of fresh air!” exclaimed Janice Q. Schmutzowicz. of Last Chance, Colorado. “Nothing about sciatica, gall stones, in-grown toenails, cardiologists, pulmonologists or proctologists!”

   The only problem was that Janice and her husband, Harvey, leapt for so long on their bed that they had to begin a three-month regimen of physical therapy to treat countless muscles and tendons that had been strained.

  “Despite the therapy, we won’t fall into the trap of focusing on our physical issues with our friends,” said Harvey – “that is, once I figure out what the hell this shooting pain in my leg is all about. Cheesis! Ouch!!!”

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Employee, three days from retirement, can’t stop chortling as he listens to co-workers feigning admiration for each other, perfecting fake laughs at idiotic jokes, and treating absolutely moronic ideas with false respect.


   “Hey, I had to do play this same dumb game for 43 years!” said Red E. Tabolt, an executive vice president of a major banking concern in Hardscrabble Corner, Vermont. “Three more days and I’ll get my mantle clock, thank all these people, walk out, go home, laugh at my wife’s jokes, and treat every one of her ideas with the utmost regard!

   “After all this experience at work, hey, I’ve had great training for retirement! I can’t wait for it to begin!”

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After couple has unusually restful night, both awake with odd, unidentifiable physical sensations that feel vaguely familiar but that neither can directly pinpoint!


   “I’m going to give it ten minutes to subside or I’ll call the doctor and figure out what this is!” said Arlene Q. Koytess of Thunderbolt, Georgia.

    Five minutes later, she and her husband, Ralph, heaved sighs of relief, comforted that the bizarre sensation had abated.

   “Was it weird for you, too?” asked Arlene.

   “Boy, it sure was!” said Ralph. “REALLY weird. I thought maybe I needed an ambulance or something. Phew!”

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Dental labs in U.S. report severe shortage of titanium implants as retirees chew knuckles and fingernails and grind teeth above gum line while binge-watching Game of Thrones


   “Boy, once they get started they can’t stop watching this stuff!” said S. Cary Needleman, D.D.S., president of the American Dental Association. “They’ll go through all the episodes in less than a week, and then they come to us for help because they’ve been grinding so much they can’t find their teeth anymore!”

  “My husband is one of these addicts!” complained one woman, Hortense Q. Toothaker of Okahumpka, Florida. “The hell with the dentists – I think these old geezers should all have open lines to their cardiologists while watching this craziness!”

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Wife begins daunting task of knitting exact-size replacement for portly husband’s threadbare, preposterously stretched sweater, which he has worn every day like security blanket for 45 years

   “He’s never wanted to get rid of the damn thing, even though it’s totally formless and looks like it was dinner at a moth picnic!” said Jessica Z. Needleberg of Humptulips, Washington. “He’s getting a new one whether he likes it or not. Every time he has a snack, which is almost every waking second, the thing expands, and it’s now stretched from here to the Mexican border!”

   Once she’s finished, she will buy another ball of yarn and re-cover his 40-year-old chair.

  “That stupid thing is shot, too,” she added.  “The fabric is kaput and the frame squeaks nonstop – just like him!”

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South Florida ladies take their regular colorful fashion down a notch on casual Fridays and relax in these plain, informal Minnesota cabin duds


   “It’s great to let down your hair on these Fridays!” said Cora Gaudio, a snowbird from northern Minnesota, as she and her pals took selfies. “The other six days we wear our much splashier outfits so that no one in a car misses us while we’re crossing busy intersections in Lauderdale and Boca.”

  “We’re having a ball!” added her friend, Maxine Burberry. “This is really who we are – a bunch of lake bums at heart. It’s been such fun since we took these grubby threads out of mothballs. We’d all go jump in the lake if it didn’t have six hundred alligators in it!”

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Husband is utterly shocked as wife concedes that he is right about something for the first time in memory, eking out rare victory in proving that it is, indeed, Tuesday

    “Wow! I feel like such a genius!” beamed Rodney Q. Putznik of Correctionville, Iowa. “I am always wrong, but instead of feeling like a lost puppy today, I think I can even run with the big dogs!

   “Maybe a year from now I’ll be able to get the month right, or the year, or be able to tell whether the sun is shining. Perhaps I can even figure out how to be right once every six months!”

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Man retires to escape his old boss, so tired of him that he leaves no forwarding address, but is shocked a year later when the devil buys the house next door!


   “This sadistic tyrant made my life miserable every day for the last ten years of my career!” said Waldo Q. Cloudesdale of Lizard Lick, North Carolina. “The day I left I literally ran out to the parking lot in relief after he threw a party that lasted all of thirty seconds. He gave everyone a single Werther’s candy, which he probably stole from a restaurant.

   “And now this? I don't *&%$# believe it! I’m calling my lawyer to find out whether there’s some torture law that I can nail him for. If not, I know he loves yard work – I’ll hire the SOB and make him cut my lawn with nail clippers!”


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Grandparents honor request from unpleasant son-in-law, take granddaughter out for balanced meal to keep her calm during three-hour ride back home alone with Dad


   “When Pete interacts with us and winces as if he’s just eaten a lemon grove, rolls his eyes, looks up at the ceiling, and answers every question with sarcasm, well, all it takes to figure out his true feelings is a single-digit IQ!”  said Roderick Z. Sweett, the grandfather.

    His wife, Suzanne, nodded.

   “We did honor his request,” she said. “Lizzie started out with a cheeseburger for protein, and her second course was even healthier -- dairy, carbs, fruit, and a little fruit sauce,” she said. “How balanced can a meal be?

   “It’s our secret!” Lizzie said, laughing, jumping around, and walking on the ceiling. “Can I have more ice cream, please?”

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Fort Lauderdale considers requiring modest bathing suits like this after local retirees flock to beaches in Speedos and string bikinis, sending shocked and shaken tourists shrieking back to airport for return home up north


   “Businesses have been losing millions in tourism dollars, but maybe now the City Council will finally pass this unique and sensible action,” said Reginald ‘Red” Sunburn III, president of the Chamber of Commerce. “And since this is a major cruise ship port, the people who organize beach excursions among passengers are losing their shirts as cruisers take one look at this, turn around, get back on their buses, demand their money back, and calm their nerves back at the ships’ buffets!”

   Lamented one local retiree, “Damn, we had the whole beach to ourselves for a while. At least we have the pool at our condo association, and it would take twenty acts of God to change any of those bylaws!!”

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Exuberant couple celebrates start of retirement by dancing on beach, but throw out their backs and spend first week watching soap operas in physical therapy clinic


   “We both love the beach, and we waited forever to move here!” lamented Jaeanette Tangorra of Devil’s Elbow, Missouri. “Ralph said, ‘Come on, Honey, let’s dance,’ and he tried a dip and bent over too far and sprained his back. I fell back a few inches onto the sand, and voila – out of commission!”

   Added Ralph, “Next time maybe I’ll just sing a little and we can snap our fingers like beatniks and move our heads from side to side, although come to think of it that could induce dizziness or vertigo at our age. Maybe we’ll see if we can just walk without getting into trouble!”


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New chain of Sunbelt franchises assures snowbirds heading back up north that they can be fully confident of unparalleled care for their air conditioners, pools, landscaping, and home inspections

   “Have you ever encountered unscrupulous service providers who don’t show up all summer, until maybe a week before you come back down south, if at all?” reads the marketing brochure for the company, called Watch Dawgs. “Have you ever returned, looked at your slimy pool, and expected a swamp monster to emerge – after you paid a company to keep it clean for six months? Did your beautiful lawn turn into parched weeds that looked as if they had been through a wildfire? Then call us! You will never have to hound our Dawgs to meet your every home need!”

   So far, one franchise owner missed a burst pipe in a house in Cape Coral, Florida, which sent ferocious floodwaters cascading out the windows into a backyard canal  … and one air conditioning system had been installed with crushed ductwork so that the air was routed into the house and then pumped back out into the grapefruit tree in the back yard … but other results of the company’s efforts are uncertain. More will be known in October, once the snowbirds start to return and discover whether the Dawgs have been well trained and kept on a short leash.

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