Holidays meet Humor – A view of ‘Gift of the Magi’ through cataracts | HumorOutcasts

Holidays meet Humor – A view of ‘Gift of the Magi’ through cataracts

December 19, 2016

Opal and Henry Wiseman are typical retirees living on a fixed income but they are optimistic about their financial outlook. Did they win the lottery? Come into an inheritance? Find a forgotten $20 bill in the pocket of a winter coat?

Nope. They are super excited about the 0.3% social security raise slated for next year.

How will they spend their windfall? 

Let’s fast forward into the year 2017 to see how an extra $4 per month* affected the Wisemans’ lifestyle.

Opal and Henry have been married 52 years, so they are beyond having lengthy discussions about money matters. Or about any matters for that matter.

But no matter.

In an act of self-sacrifice they quietly made plans to hoard their bonuses to buy something special for each other for Christmas.

Photo courtesy depositphotos: used with permission

Photo courtesy depositphotos: used with permission

They are accustomed to delayed gratification out of necessity but it still wasn’t easy to resist promotions from entities eager to line their pockets with the Wisemans’ increased discretionary income.

Here is what they resisted to successfully cling to their coins: 

  • Still reeling from the nasty 2016 election campaign the government launched a new program to support Extra Clean Campaigns for an annual donation of $48.
  • Walgreen’s ran a special: buy one giant bottle of glucosamine for $44, score a second bottle for $4.
  • McDonald’s tempted them with a supersized coffee rewards card; buy 48 cups of 99-cent coffee and get 4 freebies.
  • AARP bombarded them with a letter campaign promising more lobbyists crusading for a bigger raise in 2018 if they relinquished $4 per month to the cause.
  • The couple received a plea from their grandsons requesting $15 in their birthday cards this year instead of the customary $5. The Wisemans crushed the boys’ dreams with three simple words, “Medicare donut hole.”
  • Geico released a cute new commercial promising an auto policy regardless of accident history with a $48 rider providing coverage for 0.3% of a lawyer’s retainer fee.
  • The Dollar Store tempted them with a flyer showing happy elders trudging home with bags full of meaningless plastic stuff.
  • Walmart promised Henry a single pack Viagra for $4 if he transferred his 12 prescriptions to their pharmacy. They didn’t offer any incentives to Opal since they know every time she walks into their store she spends an average of $55.
  • Dunkin Donuts ran a special knowing that seniors caught in Medicare’s incomprehensible donut hole need to eat something besides ramen noodles.
  • Wells Fargo seized the opportunity to help seniors out of their financial pinch by offering a special deal on reverse mortgages.
  • The local casino offered golden-agers a monthly special of $4 margaritas for the privilege of pouring their entire social security check into a slot machine.

Despite these overwhelming temptations, the Wisemans held fast to their funds, trembling with excitement Christmas morning when they saw two neatly wrapped packages under their ceramic tree.

Henry opened his cufflinks and wailed, “Oh Opal! I sold my shirt to a vintage clothing store to supplement my puny $48 so I could buy your present!”

Opal opened her gift of a new gold chain and gasped, “Oh Henry! I sold my pendant to pad my meager $48 so I could buy your present!”

And this is why senior citizens can’t have nice things.

Are you currently receiving a monthly social security check, looking forward to the 2017 raise? Or are you like me working full-time, watching 6.2% of your paycheck matched by your employer whisked off to Washington with the promise of future prosperity? What would you do with an extra $4 per month?

*the actual amount of the raise is $3.72.

©2016, Stevens. All rights reserved.
For more of my humor go HERE.

Molly Stevens

Molly Stevens is the award-winning author of the book Boomer on the Ledge, published by HumorOutcasts Press. The book is an adult picture book that explores the antics of an aging boomer. Molly believes humor is the emollient that soothes life’s rough patches and promotes these convictions in her blog: Shallow Reflections. She was the November 2017 Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop Humor Writer of the Month, and won third place in the 2017 National Society of Newspaper Columnists writing contest. She is a contributing author for These Summer Months: Stories from the Late Orphan Project, edited by Anne Born.

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12 Responses to Holidays meet Humor – A view of ‘Gift of the Magi’ through cataracts

  1. December 22, 2016 at 2:32 am

    I’d like to donate to the Extra Clean Campaigns fund. I haven’t seen so much mud slinging since my brother used to go off-road racing.

    • December 24, 2016 at 9:16 am

      I know but I wonder if they’d even know where to begin to clean things up don’t you? Perhaps they need a delivery of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

  2. December 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Of course, what poor Opal and Henry forgot (because, well, they forget things now) is that their Medicare premiums will go up $5, which comes right out of their Social Security check….so there’ that.

    • December 21, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Yes, that is correct Cathy. I had to conceal this fact from Opal and Henry or they never would have agreed to the fake story. LOL.

  3. December 20, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Jeesh, that increase doesn’t even cover the cost of a movie–WITH the senior discount. Oy.

    • December 21, 2016 at 7:03 am

      If poor Opal and Henry can figure out the remote controls they could probably rent a movie from Amazon Prime so there is that, Roxanne. Otherwise it is reruns of Gunsmoke I’m afraid.

  4. December 19, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    I’m still working part-time (church singing job) for which I am still paying INTO Social Security, which, at some point, might raise my benefits by a pittance, anyway. As for the promised raise in 2017, I am so (un)impressed that I didn’t even bother to get excited.

    Although I know how to economize when I have to, and how to do things like work part-time and freelance to make some grocery and pocket money, I have never been good at making a big income. That seems to run in my family. Wealth not only eludes us, it runs like a torpedo when it knows we are coming.

    • December 19, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      I’m sure there are some people who think that $3.72 per month is too much for the government to give to people who are no longer working full-time. To them, I have only this to say:


    • December 21, 2016 at 7:05 am

      Glad you are making ends meet Kathy despite the meager SS raise. Many seniors are working part-time jobs to give them some extra money. It is wonderful you are doing so by sharing your singing talent!

  5. December 19, 2016 at 8:15 am

    This is quite the windfall. If someone is named a Wiseman, I think I will follow their lead! That $3.72 is too much to gamble with.

    • December 21, 2016 at 7:07 am

      So true Donna. It is glorious to imagine this sum of money being added to one’s monthly income!

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