Unwelcome Intros

The other day I got an email from an evidently well-meaning local health operations.  The text of the email began:  “At your age . . . .”  The rest of the sentence was “watch out for these injuries,” but I really couldn’t get past the introductory phrase.  Couldn’t they have come up with something a little bit less aggressively in-your-face about the age issue, and a little more neutral in tone?

storage-rack-for-folding-walkers(In case you’re wondering, the email pointed out that aging people tend to lose strength and flexibility, and have problems with their balance.  In short, when you get old you’re going to become a rigid, brittle-boned, stumbling weakling.  Welcome to the Golden Years!  And watch out for those falls that cause hip injuries.)

Messages that begin “At your age” are right up there with messages that begin “We regret to inform you.”  When you see that, you know bad news is coming.  Sometimes you don’t even need to read the introductory phrase to know that the tidings are grim.  When I was applying to law schools back in the early ’80s, I quickly learned that a slender envelope inevitably equaled rejection.  Applicants were looking for the fat manila envelopes that provided information about acceptance, financial aid availability, and other information that an accepted student might need, not the basic envelope white envelope carrying the one-page ding letter from some flunky in the registrar’s office.  (Of course, that was back in the days when people used the mails to communicate, which just shows why I’m getting emails that begin “At your age . . . .”)

And speaking of messages, sometimes what starts out positive can take an abrupt left turn with the use of the word “but.”  A wise older person once said that you should ignore everything that comes before the “but.”   Being old, after voicing those words of wisdom she no doubt promptly stood up, lost her balance, and suffered some kind of joint injury.

The Campaign Mailbag

With the election now less than two months away, Kish and I are getting bombarded with campaign mailings.  Everybody wants money, of course — even candidates running for office in faraway states.  (How do these people get our names?)  In any case, here are a few splenetic Webner House reactions to the campaign literature we’ve received over the last few days:

1.  We’re not stupid. I hate it when somebody tries to design a mass-produced mailing to look like it was hand-written.  We received one yesterday with a faux hand-written address on the envelope and a faux hand-written post-it note inside.  Does even the most credulous voter actually think that another human wrote the address and note?  It’s insulting to think that politicians trolling for money consider us to be so gullible. Why would I want to give money to someone who evidently believes I am easily duped?  How about showing minimal respect for our intelligence instead?

2.  Please don’t order us around. More and more, political fliers seem to issue edicts, rather than simply trying to educate voters on the different positions of the candidates on pertinent issues.  For example, we received a mailing from the Kasich-Taylor campaign that criticized Governor Ted Strickland’s approach to balancing the state budget, which has involved use of Ohio’s “rainy day” fund and federal “stimulus” dollars.  A fair point to make during a campaign, I think — but the envelope for the mailing commands:  “Tell Ted Strickland . . . “No More Band-Aids!”  My initial response to that directive is:  “Bite me!  Tell him yourself!  I’ve got better things to do!”

3.  Don’t pretend. Our state representative, Marian Harris, recently sent us a mailer focusing on voter frustration with the responsiveness of government and touting her Saturday office hours and regular town hall meetings, both of which are commendable.  But then the mailer says:  “Marian Harris is One of Us — Not a Politician.”  I’m sorry, but by definition a state representative who is currently serving in that capacity is a “politician.”  Why treat your current profession like it is a dirty word?