Lately, it seems, the number of our friends who are retiring is escalating. Every time I hear that another has reached that threshold, I admit to pangs of envy. It isn’t that I don’t love what I do, because I do. But after many, many years in the classroom, and with a finite number of years ahead of me, I feel ready to get on with whatever is next. The big question before I go is, how do we fluff up retirement assets and keep them fluffy so that we will be able to do everything we want to do when we finally have time to do them?
One gray morning recently, Paul and I were reading the daily papers, sharing interesting tidbits back and forth, as usual, when Paul announced that on the first day of its release a computer game titled “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” grossed over five-hundred million dollars, putting a dagger in the hype around the opening of the latest “Twilight” movie episode, which only earned thirty million during its first two hours.
Inspiration struck: We will create a computer game targeted at our peers, the vast audience of graying Baby boomers, thereby plumping our retirement coffers. The working title of our game is, “Mom and Dad Go to the P.O.”
Visualize, if you will, a handsome couple of a certain age, heading out to the post office to mail their retirement papers. Along the way they face a daunting, exciting set of challenges. If they fail to make it to the P.O. they must work for three more years. If they make it they will abide in Elysian Fields forever, beginning now.
Challenge One: finding the car keys. Mom will look through Dad’s pockets, Dad will search Mom’s handbag. Let’s say Mom runs across a flirtatious note addressed to Dad from any of David Petreaus’ paramours or friends. Mom instantly becomes a Ninja warrior, poised to attack with an airtight prenup in hand. We haven’t worked out what Dad will be able to defend himself with other than a media spokesman, a dozen roses, a trip to rehab, and a trenching tool, but the options are many. Whoever wins that round gains the power to either gloat all day or choose where they go for lunch.
If they survive Round One, they earn the lost keys. To get to the car, however, they must fend their way through a battalion of junior-high-age skateboarders zooming downhill toward them while texting on their iPhones. Dad, who’s had a recent knee replacement, may choose to shove his walker into the onrushing menace, thereby opening a safe path. But if he knocks down one or more of the kids, a phalanx of angry young mothers will rappel down from hovering black ops helicopters to avenge the felled youths. Mom, an alum of the mother group, and so fully trained in their combat strategies, will now bring out her big guns. She might shout, “The school called you!” Or stop them with a text: “Your kid forgot to tell you that today it’s your turn to bring two dozen cupcakes to practice.”
If any of the mothers has cupcakes in her arsenal, it’s game over. Fortunately, none ever do.
Finally on the road, Mom and Dad next must compete for the right-of-way on a traffic roundabout with a flash mob of bikers, an old gal who can’t see over the steering wheel of her pink Cadillac, a knucklehead in a giant Range Rover who ignores the yield signs and, just to keep things interesting, some voluptuous flying vampires.
At the same time all this is going on, Mom and Dad are receiving phone calls that need immediate decisions: do they sell or hold when a drop in stock prices imperils their nest egg; yes or no to the offspring who lost his job and wants to move home with his wife, three kids, a cat and two dogs; generic or name brand on the prescription; and…? Well, you get the idea.
Of course, the game controls will be adjustable for trifocals, there will be headsets for either the player who has a little hearing loss or the spouse who hasn’t, and a do-over button in case you forget which button does what.
I think it’s a winner. Can retirement be far off now?
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