Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, June 5, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page A:9

Mountain View News Saturday, June 5, 2021 
Mountain View News Saturday, June 5, 2021 


Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Dinah Chong WatkinsAudrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 

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My schedule and habitual patterns have

changed this week and have left me totally

disorganized. Every Wednesday for the past 

year and a half my wife and I have gone to pick

up our granddaughter to take care of her day. 

Now, as of this week, my daughter has informed 

us that daycare has reopened and in order to

have a place the baby has to be present on every

weekday. Alas we are not the decision makers 

In order to soften the blow, my daughter arranged for all of us to 
go to the Zoo tomorrow. For me this is a major event and I have set asidemy Tee Shirt with the large cartoon picture of Bernie Sanders displayed on 
the front. I do this because I get a tremendous kick out of asking my 22month old granddaughter “who is this” and waiting for her reply. With a 
little help she says “Bernie.” At a campaign rally where I bought the shirt 
I resembled Bernie so much that people took pictures of me thinking I was 
Bernie and some reporter stopped to interview me. I noticed at that time 
that there were very few oldsters at the rally and that Bernie’s popularity 
was limited. Still, so far, hooray for Biden.

There clearly are generational disparities and I believe there is 
an actual need for conversations. Unfortunately, today’s active younger 
people are so busy playing video games and displaying their pictures by 
text that they have no time or interest in actually hearing what anybody else 
has to say. I am now a non-working retiree I have felt the loss of personal, 
actual in the moment, contact. Down with texting!

As an example of my uncomfortable isolation, I have given a name 

to a decorative coffee mug that my wife gave me as a birthday present a 

couple of months ago. I call him Timmy and look forward to our early 
morning shared pleasures including watching television. Actually I never 
know if what I view on television is being presented live or is a taped 
representation of what had already been broadcast previously. This time 
warping is particularly annoying when I watch MSNBC programs that 
seem disturbingly familiar until I realize that I viewed the same programs 
earlier in the day.

 One final comment about the enforced isolation and confusion of 
older people. I wish that technological devices would be made in specific 
versions simpler to be operated by older people. We old folk have trouble 
keeping up with the technology present in new cars, iPhone, apple watches 
and everything else. This is not a good feeling. The fact that old folk are 
still around was very obvious yesterday as I played golf and then went to 
the market which is now opened. Finishing my 9 holes, which I walkedcarrying my bag on my shoulder which I do as demonstrating to myself 
that I am getting exercise no matter how terribly I play, I confronted 
another oldster and said ”It’s pretty hot out there, be careful.” I replied,
“You young kids like to take chances. I’m 77 and am old enough to knowbetter.” 

The interaction was reversed as I walked from the parking lot to a 
market. As I struggled to disengage my feet from the car an older looking 
man said to me, “need any help old timer?” I said something like, “Things 
get tougher when you’re 77.” His response, which I really got a kick out 
of, was “I’m 88 and I think I can remember that far back.” If no one else 
is around we oldsters will talk with our coffee mugs, babies and Tee shirts, 
but actually conversing with someone else in present time is the most fun. 
So let me know how you are doing? 



The big, blonde bouffant haired waitresses in their Oktoberfest 
frocks sang “Happy Birthday” to me as the lit 
candles dripped wax on the 6 inch, non-personalized, 
white buttercream cake. I asked my mom why there 
were only three candles when I was obviously six years 

old. She shushed and gave me that “You’re lucky to be here” look. Swiss 
Chalet as the restaurant was known back then, was the 60’s WASP version 
of El Pollo Loco but with cloth napkins and table service. It was my first 
introduction to food as entertainment and I was hooked. 
All my birthdays after that had to be accompanied with a chorus of singing 
wait staff parading a flaming non personalized cake to my table. They were 
sophisticated events for a shortie - crayons, coloring pads, cardboard party 
hats emblazoned with Buddy's Pancake House and logo.
“Good enough for an 8 year old!” my father would exclaim. 

Nolan Bushnell, founder of Chuck E. Cheese and Rocky Aoki, founder 
of Benihana knew what I intrinsically discovered, the food didn’t matter 
if the entertainment was good. Since the 70’s, millions of kids have run 
riot in their neighborhood Chuck E. Cheese, their pockets bulging with 
tokens and prize tickets. The owners bet on the incessant buzzing, clanging, 
whoop-whoop, and colored strobe lights to switch off our high functioning 
brain cells, how else can we explain happily exchanging $18 in prize tickets 
for a miniature Troll Doll keychain? And the food there? Pizza like my 
mom made, out of the freezer and into the oven. But nobody cared because 
at the end of the 2 hour party package, we went home with our pink rubber 
Fart Cushions and rainbow-hued Slap! wristbands. 

Rocky Aoki knew a thing or two about shrimp. Shrimp tasted better when 
it flew from the teppanyaki's chef spatula into your shirt pocket - dry cleaning 
bills notwithstanding. Blazing onion volcanos, spinning eggs and razor 
sharp knives were twirled, flipped and fried by this league of acrobatic chefs. 
We applauded at the table, unaware of the MSG migraine that awaited us 
an hour after the meal. But a couple of Tylenols was a reasonable price for a 
front seat ticket to That’s Entertainment! Benihana Style! 

How do you gauge the health of your marriage? If it’s your date night and 
you find yourselves at a Murder Mystery dinner, it’s on the downswing. 
Seated at a round dining table with three other anonymous couples, each 
of us studiously avoided small talk, focusing instead on the canteen quality 
house salad with French dressing. We grew comfortably into the awkward 
silence and just as the plates of roasted chicken arrived - a dark figure, 
velvet cape flung over his shoulder, grabbed an empty chair and with an 
exaggerated flourish sat down. His crumpled thrift shop fedora had seen 
its best days back in 1954. He waved his arm expansively over the function 
room, “Tonight, one of you will murdered and the murderer is one of you!” 
the scent of Two Buck Chuck washed over the table, and at that moment I 
wished I had my can of Febreeze. Throughout the entree he tried to engage 
the stoic suburbanites at our table, the dead air made it clear to him we just 
wanted to be spectators and would make dull murder patsies. As if that 
was his cue, he stopped the waitress to refill his wine glass, “To the brim, 
my lady!” and with the expertise of a frat boy he chugged it down, bade us 
farewell and swooped towards the exit. There was a communal sigh of relief 
at our table as we tucked into our apple pie a'la modes. 

As for my Swiss Chalet celebrations - the manager eventually blackballed 
my family. It turned out the birthday cakes were complementary and in 
two years time, I had so many birthdays I was “old enough”, as the manager 
mentioned, to join the AARP. 

Email me at 

Read more at: 



I just got another scam phone call from someone pretending to be 
from the Social Security Administration, and my blood is boiling. 

When I answered my phone — from the 480 Area Code in Arizona 
far away from Pittsburgh — a recording said, “Your Social Security 
number has been compromised. Stay on the line and an agent will 
be right with you.” 

When the agent, speaking in broken English, asked for my name 
and address, I got even madder. Why? 

First, having done cybersecurity assessment and communications work the past few 
years, I knew that the Social Security Administration will never call me or anyone — unless 
you’re having an ongoing discussion with a legitimate government employee. 

Second, another telltale sign that it was a scam was that the scammers had no idea what 
my name or address was.
Third, I knew that elderly Americans are more likely to fall for such an obvious phone 

For example, my heart broke recently when I read about a 79-year-old Pittsburgh woman 
who got taken in by scammers. 

According to this Triblive article, she received a phone call in June 2019 from a person 
who identified himself as an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. 

The “agent” told her that her identity had been stolen and that she was inadvertently involved 
in an international drug trafficking and money laundering scheme. 

The dirty rat then persuaded her to wire massive sums of her life savings to a second fake 
DEA agent or “she would be investigated by the DEA and would lose her Social Security 

According to the lawsuit that the victim has filed against her bank for not questioning her 
about her huge transfers, she was taken for $4.3 million. 

Look, we all have to step up our understanding of the growing risk of cyber-scammers — 
and we need to help our elders learn how to protect themselves from rapidly increasing 

The FBI reports that since many older Americans have large nest eggs and homes that are 
paid off, they are ripe targets. 

Many elderly persons who are friendly and trusting — and wary of being rude to anyone 
who calls on the phone — are especially at risk in our era of smartphones, email and social 

They are victims of identity theft, charity fraud, health care scams, “You’ve won” scams 
and government-imposter scams of every kind. 

Scammers use fraudulent smartphone texts, spoofed emails that appear to be from people 
you trust, or robocalls and other phone scams using spoofed phone numbers. 

I called back the 480-area-code number that had called me with the Social Security scam. 
It was the number for a construction firm in Arizona. 

The scammers were able to spoof that legitimate phone number, as they do millions of 
other numbers, to fool their victims. 

Helpful resources are available to help all of us learn to better identify scams and, most 
important, to help us protect our vulnerable elderly family members and friends: 

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations offers useful tips on how to stop scammers who 
prey on the elderly dead in their tracks. 

So does the Cybersecurity Information and Security Agency. 

This brochure offers useful cybersecurity information to older Americans. 

And the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Pass It On Campaign enlists people 65 and 
older in an effort to recognize and report fraud and other scams. 

All these Websites can help us make sure our elders are alert to the dirty tricks of the rotten 
scammers and know how to avoid them. 

Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 

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