22

Holding to the Oldies

I had to call my mother’s AARP health insurance company this morning to find out what the deductible was on her medicare supplement plan. 

Several months ago I’d tried to talk about her plan over the phone with them and was told she would have to submit a written form designating me as someone who could be trusted to act in her behalf. 

(The whole purpose behind that call was to see if they’d received the check I’d sent them after I found out my mother hadn’t paid her premiums for the last two months and was in danger of having her insurance terminated.  I don’t know what a person would do if their parent wasn’t lucid enough to fill out that form—forgery, perhaps?  Appearing in person at their corporate offices dressed up as Mrs. Doubtfire maybe?)

Anyway, I got into their system and proceeded through the automated menu with the help of the nice disembodied female voice on the other end of the line.  She had the soft, reassuring tones of Miss Nancy on the old t.v. show “Romper Room.”  All I needed was some graham crackers and milk and I was back in the 1950’s again.

After jumping through the automated hoops I was finally going to be turned over to a living breathing agent.  But first I had to be on hold for awhile.  Now, some businesses have really annoying “music to hold by.”  Often I’ve had to put the phone out at arm’s length to keep from being deafened before the end of the call.

This time it was different.  For a company primarily dedicated to older folks, their music wasn’t very loud at all.  Go figure.  And the tune I was listening to also took me back to the 1950’s. 

It was Perry Como singing “Papa Loves Mambo,” kind of the quintessential fifties song—slightly silly lyrics with a bit of sexual innuendo thrown in for good measure.  I liked it. 

Perry Como recorded it on August 31, 1954; it was released in September, and charted on October 4, eventually peaking at number four, spending eighteen weeks on the charts. It was Perry’s 98th hit.

So here it is for you to enjoy.  I’m sure when we baby boomers get a little further along in age and find ourselves put on hold when calling AARP, we’ll be listening to the music from our youth too. 

Only with our luck, it’ll be The Captain and Tennille singing “Muskrat Love.”

Papa loves mambo
Mama loves mambo
Look at ’em sway with it
Gettin’ so gay with it
Shoutin’ “olay” with it, wow (huh)

Papa loves mambo
(Papa loves mambo)
Mama loves mambo
(Mama loves mambo)
Papa does great with it
Swings like a gate with it
He loses weight with it, now

He goes to, she goes fro
He goes fast, she goes slow
He goes left ‘n’ she goes right

(Papa’s lookin’ for Mama)
(But mama is nowhere in sight) (huh)

Papa loves mambo
Mama loves mambo
Havin’ their fling again
Younger than spring again
Feelin’ that zing again, wow (huh)

Papa loves mambo
(Papa loves mambo)
Mama loves mambo
(Mama loves mambo)
Don’t let her rumba and don’t let her samba
‘Cause Papa loves Mama tonight (huh)

4

Eh? Whadidya say?

For all of you who have read my posts that poke a bit of fun at my 90 year-old mother and her hearing, I want to say that karma has a way of biting one on the butt sometimes.

I know that my hearing isn’t what it used to be, mainly because of the constant ringing in both ears that I attribute to the Lipitor I took for several years before kicking that habit cold turkey.  (See my artist trading card “I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.”)

But lately I’ve noticed that I have to ask people to repeat what they’ve just said and find myself indulging in more lip reading than I care to admit. 

I took a course in American Sign Language about twenty years ago and am tempted to teach it to my husband so I can converse with him while he’s driving.  He has hearing loss from his stint in the Coast Guard where they repeatedly fired off 40 millimeter cannons next to his right ear. When the driver’s side window is down even a little he can’t make out what I’m saying and I can’t hear him because of the whine in my left ear. 

A match made in heaven?

Anyway, the other night while watching the Olympics I had what might be called an epiphany, or at the very least an appreciation of what my mother is experiencing and what I have to look forward to.

I wasn’t really interested in what I was nominally watching.  I think it might have been the compulsory dance in ice dancing, where all the couples do a routine to the same mind-numbing tune—over, and over, and over.  So I was “multi-tasking” by reading a magazine at the same time. 

“Multi-tasking” for me means doing several things at once very badly.

I remember the channel went to commercial break for a car dealership.  I was paging through the magazine and wondering why Jennifer Aniston was on the cover of Architectural Digest instead of a photo of her house.  (Jennifer Aniston is on the cover of every magazine, it seems.  We’ll know she’s taken over the world when she turns up on the cover of AARP’s Modern Maturity.)

Then, I swear I heard the announcer say:

“….and zero percent APR for all qualified lesbians.”

What the hell?  I know a lot of corporations are targeting the gay and lesbian communities with special cruise packages and hotel deals, but a car dealership?

Then, to my chagrin, I reasoned that what I thought I heard as lesbian was in reality probably leases, leasees or something along those lines.  My ears didn’t pick up on the complete sound of the word so my brain decided to take over and just fill in the blanks a bit.  Helping me out, don’t ya know. 

I had to laugh about what I thought I’d heard, but it gave me pause.  What else have I been assuming I heard and understood, but didn’t? 

Move over, Mother, and hand me that ear trumpet, will ya?