Thursday April 24, 2014

Rothenburger: Why I'm best pick for new advocate

Hon. Terry Lake,

Minister of Health

Dear Terry:

I’m interested in your job posting for a Seniors Advocate, or, as you might once have termed it, Silver Tsunami Tsar. I note that tomorrow is the deadline for applications and hope this finds you in time.

The posting says the applicant should be an “exceptional communicator.” I think I would qualify on that score, as lots of people take exception to most of what I say.

I’m not a member of the B.C. Liberal party (or any other party) but I was a Young Liberal in my teens so I hope that will suffice for this particular appointment.

I’m also hoping you’ll overlook the time I joked about your beard. I was kidding. Really.

I’m not looking for full-time work, as I’d rather the job doesn’t infringe on my afternoon naps. I just need something to supplement my fixed income and help with the hydro bills.

Will I have to travel to Victoria often? If so, could you talk to Mr. Stone about providing an exemption to the seniors’ fare increase on the ferries?

The ad says the position will focus on, among other things, seniors’ transportation and housing. I have experience in those areas — I drive a truck that’s almost as old as I am and own a house that’s older than you and me put together.

I’m pretty good with a computer, too — I use it to plan the vacations I can’t afford. I’m especially interested in the opportunity to work on “systemic issues.” In my view, the system is badly in need of work.

By the way, Terry, you’re a terrible role model for old people. You’re way too cheerful, always looking like you’re enjoying yourself. You must wipe that smile off your face, or hire somebody like me who’s grouchy all day long.

You need someone who understands the issues facing older people. Have you ever wondered why they’re so cranky?

I can tell you. One morning you wake up and every muscle in your body aches, not to mention your varicose veins are throbbing like a bugger.

The good news, according to your internist, is that you’re in good shape “for somebody your age.” Then he says, “But a little more exercise wouldn’t kill you.”

Your government pension cheque arrives and, yep, it’s for exactly the same amount it was last month, and the month before, and the year before that.

The federal government won’t raise CPP because it says it can’t afford to, and the provincial government wants more from seniors for electricity and ferries for the same reason.

If I get this job, I’d like to knock some heads together and sort it all out.

But, hey, it’s seniors’ day at the vitamin store and — as a friend of mine puts it — we’ll soon be able to drive faster on the Coquihalla.

I was at a big public meeting recently and a young person remarked that almost everyone there had white hair. It was too bad more young people didn’t have time to attend, he said. It was a Sunday afternoon.

Older people show up because they care what happens to our community. When they were in charge, they got a few things wrong, but they also got a lot right.

If I don’t get the job, please find somebody who will do good work for seniors. They deserve it.

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