Happy 50th, Mr. President. Don't buy an AARP membership.

  • Article by: SUSAN HOGAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2011 - 8:04 PM
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President Obama's birthday: A time for cake!

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Happy birthday, Mr. President. You made it to 50.

You now qualify to compete in the "Senior Olympics" -- swimming, horseshoes, basketball -- a sure temptation for an athletically minded world leader who loves to shoot hoops.

And no doubt you've already received your AARP card. Whatever you do, don't sign up for a membership.

Sure, you might get a hotel discount here and there, but that's not necessary with what we're paying you.

A membership also comes with a subscription to AARP magazine, which boasts 47 million readers. You can read about other aging famous people, such as actors Harrison Ford and Billy Crystal.

If they're getting old and feeling OK about it, then maybe you will, too. Or that's what the magazine wants you to believe.

AARP definitely wants you, Mr. President. That's got to be why it recently featured your wife in an article on military families. Her picture still beams prominently from the AARP website.

Even so, we've heard many, many 50-year-olds regret signing on with AARP. Why?

The next thing they knew they were pelted with mail on "special offers" asking for money for a barrage of so-called deals. AARP calls them opportunities for discount car insurance, travel packages, etc. Don't fall for it.

But really, many seniors say the haranguing seems unending, even when you beg AARP to stop. (Yes, I know writing this means they'll be denouncing me with a vengeance. AARP is prolific at ranting negatively, particularly about politics.)

So, my advice, Mr. President? Skip AARP - I'm sure you'll be getting an earful from its lobbyists anyway.

Instead, enjoy a big fat piece of cake, then shoot some hoops to work it off.

Susan Hogan is a Star Tribune editorial writer.

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