Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fraternal Organizations for Retirees

In high school, I desperately wanted to be a cheerleader. Desperate is the operative word; I couldn’t execute a proper cartwheel, much less do a full split. I wound up in the marching band, where I made many good friends, several of whom I’m still in touch with. I didn’t join the band in college, though I considered doing it. I was too busy keeping my head (and grades) above water. I had no interest in sororities; the cheerleading failure probably scarred me for life.

I mention this because my once guilty pleasure (but not so much anymore) The View briefly discussed sororities and fraternities in the Hot Topics segment recently. One faction liked the fact that you could travel the country and be welcomed by sisters (or brothers) from other chapters as one of their own. Another faction decried the idea that the very concept of a fraternal organization was based on the notion of exclusivity and, by extension, exclusion.

Suddenly I had one of my flashes of inspiration: there should be fraternal organizations especially for retirees. Ones like Tappa Kegga Beer, but geared to the interests of folks our age. Naturally, I set to work identifying suitable candidates. Organizations that would be welcoming, inclusionary and not exclusionary. Organizations with catchy names that could be screen printed on bowling-shirts and embroidered on canvas tote bags.

Say for instance, Takea Nappa Day, the senior snooze fraternity. It’s unisex, so both men and women can join. The initiation rites include a mid-afternoon nap that must last at least 20 minutes, but not more than two hours. There isn’t a retiree out there who should have a problem meeting that requirement.

There are three sororities for those who might consider joining a garden club. There’s Planta Lotta Flora, and it’s sister sororities Weeda Bita Day and Oma Achin Back. Some chapters of this last one don’t even require you to have a garden. Talk about being inclusionary!

Retirees generally find that they have a lot more time to engage in sports and other physical activity. There are a number of fraternal groups for active types. Those who practice the minimum of exertion may want to join Walka Milea Day. For the slightly more strenuous, there’s the sorority Yoga Cobra Dog, or Yo Co Do for short. And for seniors who are into truly challenging exercise, we have the senior crew fraternity, Rho, Grampa, Rho.

Some of the organizations draw their members based on what they wear. Chief among these is Polli Esta Slax. Sisters and brothers take an oath to never wear pants made out of natural fibers. One of the hazing rituals involves a blindfolded test wherein the pledges must feel six pieces of fabric and decide: polyester or natural fiber? Get more than two of them wrong, and you’re out. Or rather, not in.

One of the fraternities I uncovered caters to men who feature themselves to be what my mother would have called “dandies.” Eligibility includes always being impeccably dressed, with hair combed perfectly and wearing far too much cologne. If you know someone who believes more is not enough, suggest that he join Spritza Bita Aftashave.

If you have at least three grandchildren, consider pledging Nana Bragsa Lot. You’ll need to have a smartphone with a top of the line photo sharing app. Chances are one of your progeny has already provided you with this, the better to see their own offspring.

Finally, some fraternal organizations celebrate the riches that a well-planned retirement affords the retiree. There’s the self-explanatory Gotta Primo Condo, which has a high concentration of membership in Florida, North and South Carolina and Arizona. And there’s the equally self-explanatory Takea Trippa Year. It’s membership is concentrated in metro areas around major universities.

Finding it hard to choose among all these exciting prospects? Don’t worry. They’re so non-exclusionary that—unlike typical fraternities and sororities—you can join more than one.  I’m just glad none of them requires members to do a cartwheel or a split.

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