'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
GOOD LUCK WITH THAT CONVERSATION
A radio commercial sponsored by an insurance company offers this statement, “Talking to aging parents about unsafe driving is an awkward conversation you have to have.”
Presumably the insurance company executives want these conversations to take place because they’re tired of paying claims every time a Buick Le Sabre crashes through the plate glass window of a CVS store, and afterward the befuddled 89-year-old driver SWEARS he was pushing down on the brake pedal.
Or maybe the executives are just frustrated because of all the times they drive home from work and come upon a Chrysler New Yorker in the far left lane of the Interstate highway, moving at 38 mph, with the right blinker on for the last seven miles, and a barely noticeable crop of blue hair at about the same height as the top of the steering wheel.
So the insurance company executives, either for business or personal reasons, want adult children throughout America to sit down with their aging parents and say, “You know what, Dad (or Mom)? Maybe it’s time you considered giving up your driver’s license. After all, I can’t always be nearby to scrape the neighbors’ mail boxes off your front bumper each week.”
I have one thing to say to those insurance executives: you cowards! You want us to tell our parents they no longer can have their one remaining bit of freedom? You want middle-aged Baby Boomers to say to the Greatest Generation, “Hey, thanks for winning World War II and everything, but, um, you’re not allowed to drive two miles to the Moose Lodge anymore. Oh, and thanks for giving me life, too. That was nice.”
The last people in the world senior citizens want to listen to are their own kids. This is because even if someone is 89 years old and frail, in his mind he can vividly remember being 45 years old and vibrant. And even if the child is, say, a successful 50-year-old doctor or lawyer or college professor, when he starts to talk to his father about this serious topic, both men instantly remember the time the son was seven years old and had to be taken to the Emergency Room after wondering how far he could shove a marble up his nostril.
Regardless of their present ages and situations, a former marble shover simply cannot tell a former tank commander at Normandy what to do. Most senior citizens would rather take advice from the UPS delivery guy than from their own kids. At least the delivery guy may not have been a marble shover as a youth.
This situation could be resolved easily if the insurance company did what insurance companies do so well: make people angry.
All they would have to do is send out a notice to senior citizens which reads, “It’s time to renew your automobile policy. Please stop by our office for a brief hand-eye coordination test, and we will determine your new premium rate.” Then, after giving some sort of skills test, they announce, “Your new premium is 17,000 percent higher than your old premium. Have a nice day.”
Insurance executives are intelligent—not to mention cold, calculating, and ruthless. Which is why everyone hates them, and why they should have no qualms about implementing my plan. There must be a reason why they haven’t already done this. I think I know why: they tried it once, and after inviting numerous seniors to stop by their offices for a brief hand-eye coordination test, the insurance executives got tired of cleaning up after all those Buicks and Chryslers crashed through their plate glass windows.
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