Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for January 2022

Negotiate the Sticker Price

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It’s taken the current inflationary spiral to yank our attention onto the price of ordinary things around us we buy every day, from a gallon of gasoline to a slice of pizza.

A feeling of helplessness seems to have dropped around us as we either dig deeper into our credit-card debt or decide to bypass the purchase.

There is a way you can save a few bucks on your shopping trips. It goes under several names – negotiate, haggle, and make a lower bid are just a few. But the simple way is just ask.

Many vendors, major and minor, offer discounts to veterans and to seniors. But you usually have to ask. In many cases, such as seasonal close-out sales, shops will accept a price lower than advertised.

This is not as easy in major chains such as Target and Safeway and Home Depot, but if you ask for the store manager, you can deal directly with him or her.

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Recently, a relative was lounging around a jewelry store while his wife had a dental appointment. Several items had luxurious price tags but there were a few “deals” in one corner counter. A wrist watch caught his eye so, to pass the time and since he didn’t have a wrist watch at the time, he asked to take a closer look at it.

The sales clerk told him it was the last of a particular lot and that was why it was so cheap. The sale price was $140. That ended the conversation.

He thanked the clerk and put it back, sauntered around the store a bit more and then walked out. Seconds out of the door, the clerk called after him and asked how much he’d pay for the watch. My neighbor blurted out, “I have $100 in my pocket.” The clerk asked him to wait a minute and came back to tell him her manager would take it. 

He bought the watch and, checking its costs online when he got home, his watch was e-tailing at more than $700.

Acting like he didn’t want it cut his price without even haggling.

A nettlesome cost these days is the monthly cable/internet bill, which can get close to $300 a month if you opt for multi-cable service and high-speed internet service.

If you feel you’d like to lower the cost of your existing service, call and tell them you want to cancel your subscription. You’re likely to be connected with a company representative whose job is to keep customers and has all the latest promotional programs and fees at his or her fingertips.

Rather than complain about the lack of service for the price you’re paying, be nice. Point out you really appreciate what you’re getting but just can’t afford it on your income and budget.

You don’t have to accept the first offer. You might point out that you’re a senior and will have to shop around for a plan you can afford. And if you find one, you’d like to sign up for a long-term program so you don’t have to interrupt you service every few months.

All of this is designed to help the company rep you’re speaking with come up with the best program that suits you and keep on their list of customers.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 18, 2022 at 3:00 am

Posted in Finance

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Made Another Newspaper Mistake . . .

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. . . today by picking up one of the three Arizona Republics delivered daily to the bistro.

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That newsroom has three dozen reporters, plus a similar amount of editors, plus the sports department, plus a Spanish language insert staff, plus a half dozen columnists and I read through all that was pertinent in less than 10 minutes.

The most intelligent pieces were the letters to the editor. The major story from Page One was a three page obit — three full pages plus — of one of their editors who passed away.

No wonder its daily circulation is 117K, or one copy for every 40 people among the 4.6 million residents of Maricopa County. I asked everyone in the bistro who read the paper if they learned anything. They all shook their heads no.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 15, 2022 at 3:00 am

You’re So Pun-chy

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Some folks may not think the T-shirt proclaiming “I Put The Fun In Funeral” is humorous, but I do.

I also think puns are punny – er, funny. Good punsters are given more respect in most nations – yes, folks there are puns in other languages – than the level of appreciation witnessed here.

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A reason cited for this anti-pun phenomenon in the Land of the Free is our high level of competitiveness. A pun isn’t funny if you didn’t think of it first.

I mean, how funny do you think it is if I poke you in the ribs to get by and shout, “Make Hemmingway, the pun also rises.” It may not be too polite, but I think it’s hilarious.

They are among the tools that fashioned the Old Testament and much of Shakespeare’s works. So why should we snub them now? Perhaps it’s because punning requires an extensive knowledge of many topics and things. Whether you get it or not can be an indicator of how smart you are. In other words, a pun by someone else can make you look stupid.

While Shakespeare ranks at or very near the top of the list of all-time punsters, Mark Twain also was a practitioner. One of his that comes to mind readily is about some money being twice tainted: “T’aint yours and t’aint mine.”

Get it?

Vaudeville, radio and television comics, such as Groucho Marx, Henny Youngman and Fred Allen made a good living leaning on puns. It was one of them who said his wife went window shopping and came home with four windows.

Among Groucho’s renowned one-liners are “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana,” “While in Africa, one morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know,” “Why, I’d horse whip you if I had a horse,” “If you want to see a comic strip, you should see me in the shower” and “Women should be obscene and not heard.”

Puns and malaprops thrive in the same neighborhood, such as the comic pointing out that a colleague’s memory lapse was probably caused by too much Milk of Amnesia. And there’s the press agent who claimed all they had when they began making the epic Biblical movie, “Ben Hur” was “faith, hope and chariots.”

One easy one I remember from school days goes like this, “Can February March? No, but April May.” That hauled into mind the old schoolyard throwaway, “My picture wound up in jail, but it was framed.” And the laughs about the cross-eyed teacher who couldn’t control her pupils.

Included among the list of don’ts in my life is to never talk about infinity because the conversation could go on forever. I also got to thinking a few years ago that it must be confusing to be a young ant because even their uncles are ants.

As we were growing up, my sister applied for a job at the post office but they wouldn’t letter because they said only mails worked there. She got a job at a calendar factory but that didn’t last long because they fired her after she took a day off.

My brother wanted to buy a boat so I told him to look under the For Sail section in the classified ads.

There was the time I ran into my friend and when I visited him in the hospital he asked me why I didn’t miss him. He said he was sleeping like a log so I told him he’d have to start looking for a fireplace.

He also had a wife who had a photographic memory. The problem was, she never developed it.

It was after a trip to Australia (honest!) that I got some mileage out of telling people I had trouble remembering how to throw a boomerang but it usually came back to me.

I’ve always thought that becoming a vegetarian would be a big misteak. And there are health nuts trying to ground me because I drink coffee.

As I get older, I avoid funerals because they all start at or about 9 a.m. and I’m not a mourning person.

I was all set to take pictures of the fog bank the other day but I mist my chances.

And waking up this morning to write this opus was an eye-opening experience

Now you readers are going to leave but be like a good clock and come on back for seconds.

-30-

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 13, 2022 at 3:00 am

Gardeners Are the Original Optimists . . .

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. . . because they truly believe that what you put down must rise up.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 11, 2022 at 3:00 am

Posted in A Musing

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Revitalizing Sight Doesn’t Mean Sore Eyes

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“Certainly we encourage you to eat breakfast,” the doctor’s assistant smiled through the phone when I called a couple of hours before my scheduled laser eye surgery.

I hadn’t been able to eat after midnight on each of the two days when my cataract-clouded lenses were replaced with modern-technology’s prescription lenses designed to end some six decades of requiring spectacles to see.

And I asked how long we would be. The technician checked my file and said, “I see we’re doing both eyes so you should be in and out of here within an hour.”

Both eyes! No one had told me that.

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Which is one of the major reasons for this piece.

Always ask, and keep on asking, whenever you undergo anything medical. No matter what. In this case, it wasn’t shocking to hear both eyes would be repaired at the same time. But not knowing could have been a problem when I filled out the required pre-surgery paperwork.

Right at the beginning, the form asks what you’re in for: Right Eye, Left Eye, or Both Eyes. I knew they were going to correct the major astigmatism in my right eye because computer images showed a major flaw on the orb. I would have circled Right Eye and set myself on a course that would have been trouble for the team assembled to correct my vision.

Both sides were to blame for this communications gap. I hadn’t asked and they must have assumed someone told me.

It all began more than a dozen years earlier when my eye doctor, during a routine annual eye exam, commented that I should look forward to removal of my cataracts because I would be able to junk my glasses. I had been wearing “Coke bottle” prescription glasses since I was nine when we moved from a rural hamlet into the city and a school nurse discovered I had to look cross-eyed to read.

I had noticed I was losing some of my night vision. It was nothing drastic but the ey doctor got me thinking and I began shopping around for prices. The question was how much it would cost and what was entailed in removing my cataracts and eliminating my need for glasses, which were costing around $500 a year. I went to three other doctors besides my own.

All four described what I call Steps 1, 2 and 3. Step 1 entailed the removal of my cataract-clogged lenses and replacement with a plain lens and continue wearing glasses as I had most of my life. Medicare covered almost all the cost of this.

Step 2 was to have a short-sighted lens placed in one eye and a far-sighted lens in the other eye and, while my eyesight would improve, I would still require reading glasses. This required some additional out-of-pocket costs.

Step 3 entailed removing the impaired lenses, and replacing them with prescription lenses. This involved the most out-of-pocket costs. The extra costs involved in Step 2 and Step 3 ranged from about $2,000 for each eye to $7,000 per eye.

I decided to stick with my doctor, because his prices, while not the lowest, were on the lower side of the median. I chose Step 3 because it also included the cost of correcting the astigmatism in my eyes. Reviewing what I paid for eye exams and eyeglasses each year, my surgically new eyes would pay for themselves within five years.

I chose to have the second lens implanted two weeks after the first. I had trouble waiting that long after receiving the first implant. The result was fantastic. I could see out of that news lens immediately. The procedure ate up most of the morning but the surgery itself took about 10 minutes. Stated simply, the clouded lens is sucked out and a plastic lens – think of a small contact lens – with spring-loaded sides to hold it in is set into your eye. The rest of the time was used up in preparing for surgery and staying put for observation immediately afterwards.

About a month later, I was waltzed into surgery again to have astigmatism in each eyeball corrected by laser surgery. That, too, was a breeze.

But I wasn’t through, and that’s what we were dealing with in this latest development. What occurred to me happens in one-third to half of the cases of lens-implant procedures. I had to have what is called secondary cataracts removed.

Your natural lens sits in a small sac in your eye. When the natural lens is removed, the front of that membranous sac is opened to remove the cataract lens and insert the artificial lens. In cases such as mine, the portion of the membrane remaining behind the artificial lens can cloud over, becoming what medics refer to as a secondary cataract.

The process was simple and discomfort free. I was taken in for an eye exam, my pupils dilated with eye drops and, while the doctor peered into my eyeballs with those white lights like he usually does, I heard a series of muffled “pop-pop-pops.” Each eye took less than a minute. I felt nothing. The popping was laser shots poking holes in the remaining membrane to let light through.

But the results were immediate. I was back to reading the newspaper with ease without reading glasses.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 9, 2022 at 3:00 am

Posted in Health

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Make Someone Happy ! ! !

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Call an old friend.

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Received one from one of mine dating back to my teens and had a fun time recalling fond memories. Make a list and call one a day.

It’ll do you good, too

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 8, 2022 at 3:00 am

Posted in Memories & Milestones

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Our Coffee Breaks are Brief . . .

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. . . here in our old folks’ facility because

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if they’re too long,

everybody forgets where they live.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 7, 2022 at 3:00 am

Posted in News / Events

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Have You Ever Wondered . . .

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. . . if the dogcatcher

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got paid by the pound?

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 5, 2022 at 3:00 am

Posted in Humor / Quote

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Tell Anyone Who Criticizes You . . .

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. . . for being too old to be careful.

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It may not happen to them.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 3, 2022 at 3:00 am

Posted in Aging

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