Saturday, March 31, 2012

Retirement Updates — Fairy Tales for Retirees

One of the latest trends in movies and TV shows is the fairy tale theme. Julia Roberts’ latest movie, Mirror Mirror, is a black comedy built around the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Roberts plays the evil queen. The movie comes on the heels of two new TV programs that similarly recast fairy tales.

The TV drama Grimm, inspired by the children’s tales of that name, pits the descendants from a line of criminal profilers, aka Grimms, against “the mythological creatures of the world.” In Once Upon A Time, the evil queen banishes her underlings to the parallel world of Storybrooke, Maine. Here Snow White and Prince Charming’s offspring try to break the curse as 21st century bail bondsmen. Charming indeed.

I’ve uncovered the plot summaries for beloved fairy tales that are being reworked to appeal to retirees. You should recognize most, if not all of them, despite the age-appropriate twists.

Snow White and the Seven Grandchildren

In this story, a grandmother’s beautiful raven hair turns white overnight from the stress of caring for her seven grandchildren all at once. The kids are Happy, Bashful (grandma’s secret favorite), Sneezy (who has severe allergies), Sleepy, Dopey (hopefully just a late bloomer), Grumpy (oh, wait—that’s grandpa), and teenagers Texty and Duh. Much as she loves her seven dwarfs, er, grandchildren, she struggles to maintain her patience in this emotional retelling of a classic.

Jack and the Bean Salad

This cautionary tale features retiree, Jack, who loves to garden. He’s famous for his secret bean salad casserole that he brings to neighborhood pot luck suppers. Close inspection reveals that he includes snap peas and quinoa in his recipe, but that earns him points for creativity. All is well until a snoopy sorehead goes dumpster diving in Jack’s trash. There he uncovers empty bean cans with the familiar Green Giant label.

When confronted, Jack hikes up his SansABelts ‘til his tube socks are peeking out from his walking shoes and insists he’s being framed. Finally, he’s forced to admit that his beans are, indeed, store bought. The real “secret ingredient” in his bean salad? Good old Kentucky sour mash.

Goldilocks and the Three IRAs

In this beloved classic, soon-to-be-retiree Goldilocks dabbles in a variety of IRAs to see which will turn her small investment pot into a really big one at the end of her retirement rainbow. The trick is to find the one that’s “just right” for her.

The aggressive growth equity fund requires a starting infusion that’s too big for her meager assets. Next she tries a fixed income IRA, but the return it delivers is too small for her needs. Finally, she discovers an investment that’s “just right.” It’s a balanced fund—stocks and bonds—that welcomes investors of her size and delivers… well, balanced results. At last she can sleep peacefully.

Puss in Go Go Boots

For her entire life, Katherine “Kitty” La Fleur has had the same coif and just one job. Her hair is highly-teased platinum blonde and she works the counter at the local diner. Kitty also wears the same footwear, day in and day out. She is never without her white patent leather go go boots. It isn’t that she ignores fashion. She gave up over-sized hoop earrings for trendy new dangly feathers, after all. Something else keeps Kitty in her go go boots. It’s the song playing in her head. “Dance to the music…”

Little Red Riding Scooter

Romy always wanted a red convertible. Her life was such that each time she needed a new car, a convertible just wasn’t an option. When she retired, she decided to realize her dream. First she bought a beautiful red riding cloak. Then she bought a bright red Hoveround power scooter. Not just any Hoveround. Romy bought the Bolero 4-wheel heavy-duty with the deluxe, 360-degree swivel captain’s seat.

The Bolero also came with dual rear-view mirrors “for added safety.” Sadly Romy didn’t quite know how to use them. She had the Bolero for less than a week when she backed at full speed through a neighbor’s flower garden right into the woods. The neighbors followed the tire tracks, but when they finally reached the Bolero, Romy was nowhere in sight. All they found were claw marks and tufts of gray fur on the shredded leather seat. So sad.

I think you’ll agree that these fairy tales for retirees give us a whole new perspective on Golden Books. A boxed set of the scripts is planned for the holidays, but don’t expect to find it in the children’s section. Aren’t you glad you finally have some time to read?

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