The latest advertising campaign for Direct TV features what I call the “chain of consequences.” Here is just one of the spots in this clever campaign.
“When you have cable and can't find something good to watch, you get depressed. When you get depressed, you attend seminars. When you attend seminars, you feel like a winner. When you feel like a winner, you go to Vegas. When you go to Vegas, you lose everything. When you lose everything, you sell your hair to a wig shop. Don't sell your hair to a wig shop… Upgrade to Direct TV.”
Every time I see one of these ads, I think that there must be dozens of similarly idiotic chains of consequences in the lives of retirees. I have given this some thought and I’ve come up with several chains to share as warnings.
When you’re on a budget, you buy inexpensive wine. When you buy inexpensive wine, it has a metal screw-off top. When you open a metal screw-off top, you cut your thumb. When you cut your thumb, you go to the emergency room for stitches. When you go to the emergency room, they want you to sign a “do not resuscitate” order. When you sign a DNR, they put you in a cubicle with a chatty old lady who has lost her marbles. Don’t get stuck with a chatty old lady who has lost her marbles. Buy decent wine.
When you join AARP, they send you all sorts of travel offers. When you get all sorts of travel offers, you eventually go on a trip somewhere. When you go on a trip, someone has to take care of your cats. When someone takes care of your cats, they misbehave in ways you could never imagine. When your cats misbehave, you come home to a house you no longer recognize. Don’t come home to a house you don’t recognize. Don’t join AARP.
When you wear dollar-store reading glasses, your nose gets weird ridges on it. When your nose gets weird ridges, you buy expensive makeup to cover them. When you buy expensive makeup, the store puts you on their special mailing list. When the store puts you on their special mailing list, they send you samples of sexy new perfume. When you wear sexy new perfume, homeless men follow you down the street. Don’t have homeless men following you down the street. Buy prescription reading glasses.
When you retire, you have a lot of time to nap. When you spend a lot of time napping, the couch gets a hollow in the middle. When the couch gets a hollow in the middle, it becomes more difficult to get up off of it. When it gets too difficult for you to get off of the couch, you have to call the fire department to hoist you off. When the fire department has to hoist you, your neighbors talk about you. Don’t give your neighbors something to talk about. Don’t retire. Or else don’t take naps.
When you’re not getting enough exercise, you compensate by eating more fiber. When you eat more fiber, you spend a lot of time in the bathroom. When you spend a lot of time in the bathroom, you use a lot of toilet paper. When you use a lot of toilet paper, you eventually run out. When you run out of toilet paper, you’re forced to use the embroidered linen hand towels hanging from the antique medicine cabinet. Don’t use embroidered linen hand towels. Get lots of exercise every day.
When you downsize your house, you throw away old books. When you throw away old books, they often have something hidden in their pages. When books have something hidden in them, it’s usually something valuable, like your birth certificate. When you throw away your birth certificate, you can’t prove you're a citizen. When you can’t prove you’re a citizen, you can’t run for office. Come to think of it, go ahead and downsize your house.