Editor's Column: A Senior Center for the boomers

Howard Thomas, Oak Harbor Senior Center director, was wondering the other day how to attract baby boomers to the center. Seems like they don’t want to be around old people despite what they see in the mirror.

Technically, I’m too young for the Senior Center. I’ve recovered from the shock of receiving my first AARP card offer a while back and I was surprised to read the other day that I’m qualified to take AARP’s 55 Alive driver’s education class. I’ve been writing 55 Alive notices to put in the paper for years, but never figured I’d live long enough to be qualified to reduce my car insurance costs by taking the class. Now that I can, I’d rather pay higher insurance premiums than sit in class with a bunch of older people. I’m happy just driving down the highway with my blinker on. It serves as a warning to others that they’d better watch out because a 55 Alive dropout is coming their way.

I’m still a decade away from my first Social Security check which hopefully will be covered by federal funds borrowed from the Chinese. The Chinese won’t want 30 million American baby boomers mad at them and boycotting their $14 polyester retirement pants, so they’ll probably chopstick over the money. If not, we’ll be spending our golden years eating clams dug out of season.

Despite my relative youth, I’ve been in Howard’s Senior Center a few times. It’s neat; it’s clean; its atmosphere is warm; the people are friendly; and there are activities available, such as bingo and travel brochures, to occupy one’s time. But Howard is right, it probably won’t attract many Baby Boomers as it is presently constituted.

For one thing, I didn’t hear any music. Boomers need their music 24 hours a day, preferably songs from the ‘60s which is the only decade they paid any attention to. Old rock songs should permeate the center as long as they are appropriate for the occasion. Boomers huddling for warmth in front of the gas fireplace would like “Light my Fire;” senior romances would be kindled by “I Want to hold Your Hand;” upon boarding the bus to buy drugs in Canada we’d like to hear, “I’ve Got a Ticket to Ride,” and those trying without success to go to the bathroom might enjoy, “Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

The Senior Center could also use more boomer decor, such as orange shag rugs, bead curtains, bookshelves made from boards an concrete blocks, and stereo speakers big enough to sleep in.

Finally, if Howard really wants to attract boomers to the Senior Center, he should make sure their favorite medication is available in the garden. They say it’s perfectly if medically prescribed for certain conditions, like glaucoma, which no doubt will afflict 100 percent of retired boomers.

Follow these recommendations, Howard, and you’ll have the most popular Senior Center in the USA. But you’d better buy some air purifiers to handle all that purple haze.

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