Not a good week at Spacely Sprockets. We lost a big one. What a downer, because layoffs are now likely. After the bad news, some of the guys went out to the bar to drown their sorrows. Instead, Anne and I went to a retirement seminar. It was being sponsored by UMSL, so I thought that it wouldn’t be just another sales pitch. I was wrong though, but instead of coming right out with a blatant sales pitch, they were more subtle. Instead of financial products or services, they were selling fear and self-doubt. I had already arrived with a belly full of both.
Basically, what tipped me off, other than their insistence that even applying for social security would require their expertise, was the guy sitting next to us. He was a hoot and ran them off script. I hope that he comes back next week, but I doubt that he will. Before the talk began, the speaker told us that this seminar wasn’t designed to elicit personal advice. In the initial Q&A, designed to help set the tone, this one guy asked, “Can my Ex, who’s been divorced three times and married four times and is still married to the last guy still use my social security benefit?” After some hedging, the moderator told him yes, she could still use his social security, but that it wouldn’t affect his benefit. I think that he missed the whole point of the question, which wasn’t financial, but personal.
They opened their talk with two questions:
- What are the colors of a stop sign?
- What are the colors of a yield sign?
If you didn’t answer red and white to both questions, then you are showing your age, which was the whole point of this exercise: ‘You are old and decrypted and you need our help.’ Yield signs haven’t been yellow and black for twenty years. Fortunately, for us, Anne got this question right, because she had been working in preschool that day and she remembered that one of the kids had been playing with traffic sign blocks and the yield sign was red and white. I always knew that I had married Mrs. Right, but I hadn’t realize that her middle name was Always.
The other week, Anne had had a dream in which she was 120 years old. In this dream, she was in the kitchen making cookies with God and causes the next big bang.  Needless to say, I was not there. I guess that puts her nearer to God than me, but that’s always hard to predict. In a nutshell, this is my tension in this whole retirement thing. As our bread-winner, I want to enjoy our retirement together, while I also want to leave her the financial security that only more money can bring. This impending layoff may act as a forcing function, but I promise, I won’t put my thumb on the scale.
- A horrendous cooking accident destroys the known universe, I’m not placing blame here, but I think that Anne gets a pass.
Bummer, but a very good blog.