The other day I opened a telephone directory (yes, they still exist), devised and published by a Seasoned Citizen community. Guess what was on page one? An ad for a funeral home. Not an uplifting poem or an interesting picture, no—the first page was an ad for a FUNERAL HOME. YUK!

Have you ever visited a cardiologist’s office? Every pamphlet and every magazine speaks to dealing with problems of the heart... and I’m not speaking of romance, but the muscle beating in our chests and counting our days. How about an oncologist’s office? Everyone waiting knows he/she has some form of cancer and is dealing with it, that’s why they’re there. Do they need to read articles about living with cancer or just about living? Do they need to be bombarded with all the different types of cancers available to us or mightn’t we surround them with light reading to stimulate their funny-bones?

Seasoned Citizens know they are living in their “rusty” years. Why rub it in? I once knew a physician who, after telling his patient she needed an operation, took her blood pressure and couldn’t figure out why it had jumped to so high a number in so short a time!

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What ever happened to the idea that laughter is the best medicine? Instead of playing boring cooking shows on the waiting room TV, how about DVDs of comedy shows or stand up comedians (preferable vintage 1950s–80s) to ease the patients’ anxieties and life their moods. Laughing will stimulate endorphins and endorphins will help them to relax and change their outlook from nervous and frightened to cool and sunny.

How about computers? Since the advent of computers, life has become more impersonal and theoretically, more convenient. What’s more convenient, a friendly voice answering a phone or a computer voice offering a long list of choices for us to navigate before reaching a useful option? A smiling checker at the supermarket aided, sometimes, by a mentally challenged youth packing our bags, or doing one’s own checking and packaging and depriving two people of much needed income? Learning about the loss of a dear friend while checking one’s email (time saving but really crass), or hearing the sad news from a warm, caring voice?

Ads on TV for new miracle drugs to cure everything from hardening of the arteries to softening of the brain. Be sure to ask your doctor, though, because the warning side effects include muscle aches, suicidal thoughts and, in some cases, death. Should any of these occur, the ad says, call your physician immediately. Really? Before or after the wake?!

Have you ever noticed how some commercial TV shows have equal amounts of entertainment and advertising? They get you hooked and then, wham! A full roster of ads lasting almost as long as the show itself. By the time the drama returns you’ve lost the gist of it to pain killers and prostate regeneration

Recently, a friend of mine, also a Seasoned Citizen, looked up from her laptop and proclaimed to all who could hear, “I think I liked the 20th century better.” In many ways, I concur.

Adrienne can be reached at