I wonder if there is some sort of a bell that goes off when one retires. I question this because since then, after decades of work, it seemed like half the planet wants to be some part of my life, or wants to take a piece away.
On the day I retired I received a phone call congratulating me, because I had just won a spot on a cruise ship that is scheduled to go around the world. All I had to do was give them every number that had anything to do with my entire life and I was destined to be a world traveler. I asked them why they thought anyone who earned retirement also became stupid? They didn’t answer and I assume they went to the next retiree.
A few minutes later I received a call from someone with a very heavy accent who told me he was part of the IRS and I was in deep trouble unless I give him every number that had anything to do with my entire life and if I didn’t comply he was going to have me arrested. For a few seconds I said nothing and then stated, “really?” This time he hung up on me.
Webster defines retirement as; “to get away from action or danger, to go away especially to be alone, to give up one’s job by quit working, and to take out of circulation. I’m surprised retirement wasn’t defined as being dead.
It took me over 66 years to retire. During that time I paid into the Social Security process and Medicare without any questions or complaints. Getting to retirement was basically easy. All one had to do was work efficiently and effectively. In other words, put in your time.
Now that I’ve achieved retirement I am finding the promises of the past are becoming the deceits of my present. I’ve been getting these calls for some time now. I attempt to report them but I’m told there is little anyone can do. One of my favorite calls is someone telling me my pc is corrupted and I had to allow him or her to go into my computer in order to fix it.
If I didn’t do what he said my identity would be stolen and I would lose any money I had. Since I don’t have a pc I like to play around with this type of person. I give him everything phony and make him try out the corrupted information many times until he finally figures out what I’m doing.
Between insurance, coffin, liability, credit card, and window salespeople I’ve never been so popular. Another one of my favorite aggravating calls is from investment bankers who want me to invest in some islands that were built by the Chinese in order to take over the world. I just tell them I’m a retired teacher and that they can figure the rest out. These calls don’t last long.
The other day I received a message on my cell phone stating, that in order to unlock my credit card, I had to give him every number that had anything to do with my entire life. At least all these calls are consistent but it is making me very uncomfortable that they now have my cell phone number.
Thank God I decided not to get into any social media, or at least I think I didn’t. My friends have told me that they can’t get to me via phone anymore. Since I have call waiting anyone can see how many calls I get. Other things have also changed since I decided to simply retire.
One major disappointment had to do with my family’s dental protection. While I was working both my wife and I paid into and enjoyed a national dental health plan. It wasn’t the Cadillac of all plans but it did help me with some of the expenses including cleanings twice a year, x-rays, fillings, and even paid for a portion of any crowns that were needed.
When I went on to the Medicare plan I found it only paid for cleanings once a year. I understood this but then was informed the dentist my wife and I had over many years did not accept the Medicare plan. This was a dentist we followed through many offices and supported when he started his own.
When I asked if he gave any discounts to people who did not have insurance I was simply told no. I have to admit we were both surprised because we thought we had a personal relationship built over years of support.
Another aggravation has to do with prescription drugs. In the past our doctors called in the prescription and within 24 hours we picked it up at our pharmacy. I understood Medicare did not pay for prescriptions so, in order to protect my family, I took out one of the advantage plans.
I thought we were all set until we attempted to fill one of the prescriptions. Now this is where it became obvious that growing old was literally analogous to becoming a second-class citizen. It took almost two weeks to go through the paperwork of a system I’ll never understand.
I literally had to go through the threat of hearings, in order to get medication I don’t believe can be abused. I’m not blaming my doctor, pharmacy, or even the insurance company. This reality is just another definition of what retirement should never be.
The big bell of retirement. By Jim Fabiano.
Jim Fabiano is a retired teacher and writer living in York, Maine