Wednesday, January 6, 2016


It may seem like a long way off, but have you thought about the day when you won’t be able to drive your own car anymore? A lot of boomers are already avoiding night driving because of the discomfort they feel about fading vision and headlight glare. Most of us have read about children taking away granddad’s car keys after he’s gotten into 4 or 5 minor accidents, and we think, that poor bastard hates not being able to drive anywhere whenever he wants to -- bummer!

Now put yourself in the poor bastard’s place. Someone (a relative, the motor vehicle department, etc.) tells you that it’s no longer safe for you to be behind the wheel. You’ve been driving since you were 16 or 17 years old.…maybe 50 plus years. The sense that you’ve lost all mobility (the 4-wheeled kind) must be a royal freak out. Sure, you can get friends, family, neighbors and car services to take you where you need/want to go. But it’s not the same as sliding behind the wheel and flooring it down the highway.

Here’s a comforting thought. Fatal crash rates are higher for older drivers. Mostly because they don’t heal as well as younger drivers. The older drivers that do give up the keys voluntarily are afraid to get in a car with a driver who’s over 75 or 80, and who can blame them. You might as well get in a car with a teenager who’s texting the whole time. For those who do give up their keys voluntarily, they are twice as likely to suffer from depression as a result. Can’t we catch a break!

It’s ironic that many boomers are looking forward to retirement as a time to travel and enjoy life, but if that includes driving a massive RV off the side of a mountain on a moonless night, maybe staying on the job and taking the bus is a better option.

Perhaps driverless cars will advance to the point where older drivers can depend on them to go where they want, when they want. We can hobble out to the garage, get a teenaged neighbor to figure out how to program the GPS controller (or tell Siri) and boogie down to Walmart at midnight. Then we get in one of those motorized shopping carts and cruise the aisles all night long. Even if we buy nothing and go home, it will be a great evening of independent living.

I may be ready now.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

It's Over

I looked on with curiosity as the tourist paced back and forth in front of the hotel, towing his rolling suitcase. A bellman often sees some strange behavior in Las Vegas, so it didn’t make a big impression. Then I remembered the envelope the pretty woman gave me no more than a half hour ago.

“Excuse me sir. Is your name Donald?” I asked the man. His forehead was sweaty and he appeared to be very nervous.

“Yes, yes. My name is Donald. Do you know where my wife is? She was supposed to meet me here a half hour ago. She wanted to try her luck at poker table one more time. I’m getting scared that something has happened to her. It’s not like her to be late.”

“She told me I might see you here and that I should give you this envelope.”

Donald tore the envelope open and read the note inside. After the minute it took to read it, he let it fall to the ground, walked over to the taxi stand. He opened the door for himself, threw the suitcase on the seat and followed it into the cab. The vehicle shot out of the driveway and onto the Strip.

I picked up the discarded envelope and note and saw that it was written in a bold cursive style that read as follows:

“Donald, I’m sorry if my disappearance caused any panic on your part, but I felt as though there was no other way out. I needed to escape our marriage and going home with you to discuss it would have only prolonged the inevitable end. You would have tried to save a lost cause with suggestions that we get counseling or try some other hopeless intervention. I’ve cashed in the airline ticket and will be flying to another destination – not home. You will find that my sister has removed all my personal belongings from the house. My lawyer will be in touch to begin divorce proceedings. I presume that all of this comes as a great shock to you, but that is really the whole point. You never seemed to grasp what I was feeling or what I was looking for in our marriage, so I took this drastic action as a last resort – the only way for me to make a clean break and a clean start. You should see it as an opportunity to do the same. Patricia.”

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.