An 89-year-old writer is being courted by people interested in his business including a cremation company with a burning desire to offer him a free lunch. (© Rainer Holz/Corbis photo)
Now staggering too quickly to age 90, I get frequent offers from people eagerly interested in my business. They include such senior-seeking enterprises as nursing homes, sex enhancer makers, denture suppliers, hernia relievers, constipation pill peddlers and others wanting to cash in on the still-breathing elderly.
For example, among some of the most often repeated TV commercials is one for a cremation organization. I wont name names, because this essay is a not-quite-ready-for-the-oven old guys rant ridiculing the half-baked idea of what the cremation promoters called pre-planning.
However, as much as the spooky idea of cremation freaks me out, I must admire the organizations sales promotion method. By responding to TV and newspaper ads, potential customers are invited to free lunches at local restaurants to learn about the service.
I spent 50 years in the advertising and sales promotion racket, so it’s no surprise to me that the intent is to subject free-lunch seniors to hard-sell pitches. Attendees are urged to pre-pay for cremation rather than wait for traditional, much more expensive burial plans.
Theres nothing new about the cremation hard-sell promotions. Other businesses, such as time-share vacation peddlers, use the same pressure-cooked tactics.
Ive not heard otherwise, so I assume cremation organizations are legitimate business enterprises with required permits and licenses to provide an honest and necessary service. Ive never attended any of the free lunch promotions, but if I ever did, these could be some of the pre-planned questions this nine-decade-old cynic would ask:
Is it OK to smoke during the cremation sales pitch?
Is that background music we hear Light My Fire?
If my free flame-broiled lunch is served undercooked, may I send it back to the oven?
If one of your customers has a wooden leg, does he burn brighter than the others?
How much money will you urn by stuffing me into your earn? Well, you know what I mean.
May I suggest that on your next TV commercial, you hire the KardASHians to promote your service?
May I choose that my ashes be scattered over my favorite hooker’s street corner in Las Vegas?
Gosh, Im getting all fired up! Do you mind if I pre-plan to bring my @#$%^&! congressman to your next free lunch?
Ted Sherman is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. He will turn 90 on Aug. 8. Hes a U.S. Navy vet who served in World War II and the Korean War, and after a lifetime of writing for other people, hes now sharing his opinions with the world at large for various publications and on his blog 90 Is The New Black. Its a daily rant on current news, sports, health, travel, careers, entertainment, sports, relationships and, of course, problems of advanced age.