To the Editors of AARP: The Magazine

Thank you once again for putting a multimillionaire celebrity on the cover of AARP: The Magazine. How many issues does that make in a row--50, 150? This time it's the Boss! The actual Boss, who has reached the advanced age of 60! How many things he has to tell us about himself! And his pals have to tell us about him! He's "our blue-collar conscience," because he remembers the hard years. His rock-n-roll songs are not songs, but "anthems" that tell us about the real people in the country. His father was a bus driver, so that settles it. There can be no question that in these economically hard times "America needs Bruce Springstein now more than ever," whether he has 100 million dollars or only 20. How could we understand hard times and aging in America without him?

And if by chance some readers like myself never listened to the Boss, but wasted their time with Bach, Beethoven and Bartok, not to worry. You have peppered AARP: The Magazine with other celebrities as well. Norman Lear, the multimillionaire, who showed us through Archie Bunker how America really lived and thought. Oh, and thanks for telling me that I can buy the 19-disk set of The Norman Lear Collection that has just come out. And if I'd rather read, why there's an advertisement--no, it's an article--on a new book by Andy Williams, "America's Croon Prince," and I can buy that. My wife likes to cook, so I can show her the article on cooking with Julia, who is not a multimillionaire celebrity, but who did write a best-selling book about cooking all of Julia Child's recipes. And what's this?--oh, sheer delight, a movie is coming out called My Year of Cooking Dangerously, starring Meryl Streep. Thank you, thank you for letting me know! I might have missed all the other advertisements and promos--I mean "articles"--about the movie. And look, on the last page, more celebrities! There's Simon Cowell, a cultural icon, who is turning 50. He makes $50 million a year, and "he looks pretty darned good with all that hair and a sculpted body that fairly pours into the tight t-shirts he favors." How good to get this information from a reputable source like AARP: The Magazine and not from some despicable low-brow rag full of hype and sell-out.

And what hip language you use in this issue! The American Association of Retired Persons is really making it real! Real pop words like "vibe" and "fab" and "cool." Your headlines: "Service rocks!" "We stop an Internet rip-off." Your prose: "a sculpted body" that "pours into a t-shirt." The author of that piece has got to be proud. He's so talented he could write not only for AARP: The Magazine, but for Us, Disney or even Teen Idol. Yes, this is the awesomest issue ever! I'm starting to feel young all over again!

Multimillionaire celebrities! We old folks can't get enough of them. It always reassures us to know that despite their wealth and unlimited possibilities, their horse ranches and Italian villas, their private jets and islands, they get old and feel pain too. Imagine, the Boss has turned 60! The pain he must feel! The experience he has garnered and can pass on to us, the superannuated and enfeebled. How good it is to get tips from the super-rich on how to exercise, how to diet--it must come straight from the mouths of their personal trainers! And to follow them on their trips around the world--what a wonderful vicarious pleasure for us. How inspiring to know that they worked their way up, that they had to suffer waiting on tables in Hollywood, even if their parents were in the business. Some of them make only 10, 15, or 20 times our lifetime salary every year, not 50 like Simon Cowell, but all of them help us to understand that money can't buy everything. Because the Boss is 60 and it hurts him to pull on his worn-out jeans and go out on tour. How we feel his pain!

Living in an entertainment society as we do, growing older, uglier and poorer as we are, we need movie stars and beautiful people to admire. And you supply them, just like People, Star and The National Enquirer. You understand that we are ailing and addled, and couldn't handle stimulating articles on science, culture, languages, politics and economics. We can't pronounce names that are unfamiliar to us, and we don't want to look at unfamiliar faces. We want celebrities, multimillionaire celebrities, who talk about themselves. That's all that we toothless geriatrics and lower-income sorts can consume, along with the heels of our Wonder Bread soaked in lactose-free milk.

What if they have surgically sculpted faces, dental caps, botox injections, Preparation H rubbed under the eyes, silicon implants, monkey organs, tied-off stomachs, shortened intestines, penile implants and genital piercings? It doesn't matter to us. What if they have boozy faces, bleary eyes, enlarged pores, blown-up lips and paper noses before you digitally retouch them? We know that they are real. We don't care about their drug dependencies, psychological disorders and sexual transgressions. We welcome the void of their ignorance and love them just as they are. Without them, we might have to reflect, contemplate and even think in our old age. Thanks to AARP: The Magazine and all the other tabloids, we don't have to.

I can't wait to see who is on your next cover. Please make it the most fabulously richest, sexiest and emptiest person that you possibly can. I need the vibes--the vibes that deaden every brain cell and every nerve. I don't care how much of AARP's membership fees you spend on the mag or how much the editors get paid, if you are able to give me such a feeling of total numbness. I am so glad that you love, worship and sniff the privy parts of hundreds of multimillionaire celebrities. May you never run out of them and spend the rest of your creative and productive life writing about them. And after you pass on to your just rewards, and America has lost every trace of intellectual life, may your children and your children's children do the same. Two hundred issues, five thousand issues, ten million issues of multimillionaire celebrities!

GARY KERN
Las Cruces, NM
September 13, 2009