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Column: Sign here please, and don’t forget how it feels

I call it my “check rebellion.” Companies we pay bills to try to coax us away from paying the old-fashioned way – by check. We pay some bills online and some by automatic deduction, but we still write checks for a few bills.

My mom and dad taught me how to write checks in the 1970s when I had my first bills to pay. It’s a fond memory.

I get irritated that companies make it sound as if paying any other way but check is best for the consumer when, really, it saves companies a lot of money and hassle.

For work, and because I really like technology, I have embraced Facebook and Twitter. We bought a new landline phone recently, and it required a fairly complicated setup, but I used the product manual and went online to figure out some features. On the company’s website, I noted, sadly, that the company provided no (800) number to call for tech support.

Paper checks, a pen, a real signature (not an electronic one), a company telephone number to call for technical support – they all ground me in a past that’s going, going, almost gone.

SPEAKING OF FACEBOOK: My boomer buddies are sharing a poster on Facebook that reads:

Q: If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?

A: I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers.

RETIRING STATISTICS: From the 2012 report titled “Transitioning into Retirement: The MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65.”

• Almost one-half (45 percent) of 65-year-old boomers are now fully retired (up from 19 percent in 2008), with another 14 percent reporting that they are retired but working part-time or seasonally.

• Of those who have not yet retired, 61 percent plan to retire at the same time as they planned one year ago. On average, boomers who have not yet retired plan to do so by age 68.5.

• Almost four in 10 respondents who retired earlier than planned cited health-related reasons; 16 percent cited loss of a job or job opportunities.

•The majority of eligible boomers also started receiving Social Security benefits; half started collecting before they had originally planned.

SILVERWOOD SENIORS: On a visit to Silverwood Theme Park during the Memorial Day holiday, we noted an impressive number of older boomers and/or seniors working there. We didn’t see them operating the rides, but we spotted them in positions where they had customer contact. Taking tickets, for instance.

The ones we met had excellent people skills, so it’s likely no accident they are positioned in those jobs.

We made a mental note: Upon retirement, look for a summer gig at Silverwood. It would be like a teen summer job in reverse, though it might take the rest of the year for the body to recover from all the standing, walking and sun exposure.

TRAVELING HOME: Sherri Robinson, a Spokane Valley resident, has traveled a lot with her husband since they retired a year ago. She said one of the added benefits of travel is a deeper appreciation of home.

Here’s what she appreciates since traveling to Rome and Boston: “Spokane is so clean. Spokane is so easy to drive. Spokane is green. Riverfront Park and the Centennial Trail are such jewels. Spokane has great doughnuts.”

Her future son-in-law, Mike, shared with his Boston friends what he liked about Spokane by telling them this story.

He and his fiancée, Jenni, were walking in downtown Spokane when a woman approached them. She was giving out free sandwiches as a promotion for Pig Out near Riverfront Park. 

Mike, a New Yorker, crossed the street to get away.

Jenni moved forward, took one and said “Sure, you bet!”

She ate it. And it was good.

Friendly people. Safe sandwiches. A new Spokane slogan?


• “Mining in Idaho: Today and Yesterday,” a talk by historian Tom Blanchard examining mining’s role in the creation of Idaho, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave., Coeur d’Alene, (208) 769-2315, ext. 426.

• Web basics – learn what a browser is and how to use it, three ways to access a website and how to tell if a website is secure, Thursday, 2 p.m., North Spokane Library, 44 E. Hawthorne Road, Spokane, (509) 893-8350.

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