By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Allison Babka
By Lindsay Toler
By Jake Rossen
By Lindsay Toler
By Kelsey McClure
By Lindsay Toler
Unreal gets pitched some nifty story ideas. Rare, though, is the offer of an actual column, especially like the one that was proposed by senior advocate, author and NBC Today show contributor Jim Miller. His "Savvy Senior" column "is one of the most popular, widely read, and affordable newspaper columns (between $5 and $20 per column depending on circulation size) in America."
Or so said his e-mail.
Well goshdarnit, seeing as how the only geezer we know who reads this thing is our mother-in-law (thanks, babe!), it seemed worthwhile to spend ten minutes on the blower with Miller. Would the Oklahoman have any helpful hints on Wii bowling? Geriatric STDs? Tips we could pass on to our tomb-raider friends?
Unreal: Looks like you're offering a pretty inexpensive — dare I say cheap? — product. Could you tell us what's available?
Jim Miller: [Laughs] What's your circulation?
Print? Eighty-some thousand.
This is the St. Louis what?
You're a weekly. OK. Ten bucks a week.
Nice! And we'd get what, exactly?
Just about everything you can imagine. At least once a month I hit on something in the health field. I do a lot of products/services-type things. I don't cover as much in financial topics for seniors because there's so much financial news out there already. I do a couple of travel articles a year. You name it, I probably covered it at one point in time.
We're an alt-weekly with a readership that's a little more, I dunno, cutting edge. Would we get something on how to rig the 60-and-over Wii bowling tournament, or where the buffet bandits can find the best "free" spreads?
I don't write anything local. It's a Q&A. People ask a question; I provide them answers.
Have you heard about the latest trend in senior sex, tomb-raiders?
I can't say I've ever heard about that. I've written about online dating. And about blogging. I do get a lot of questions from people in their forties and fifties who deal with parents and don't know what to do.
Like what to do when you find sex toys in your parents' bedroom?
I wouldn't touch upon that. I would not go there. [Laughs.] Another topic I really won't get up on is the age demographic that is getting AIDS faster than any other demographic: that's people over the age of 65.
That's a big one. The answer to that is to wear a condom. To make a whole column about that, about those retirement community "Casanovas" is what they call them, where men will have sex with prostitutes, then get in a nursing room, sleep with women whose husbands have died, and the women will get AIDS and die — no. It's pretty disgusting, actually. I just won't touch that.
Because it's such a small demographic of people. And for various reasons. I hit more broad-stroking things.
Paging Erin Cockovich
Not long ago Unreal was paging through a venerable, shall we say, local society newspaper, and happened upon an intriguing personal ad from a lawyer in pursuit of a "slender, very intelligent lady, age 45 to 55." Since we fit one of the criteria, we thought it was worth a quick call, if only to learn what it meant when he wrote, "I am infused with inertia. Primarily watching DVD movies."
The first time we rang, he was busy putting together a brief "for the Supreme Court." At 4:30 p.m. the next day, he took an errand break at a local mall's food court to speak with us, beginning the conversation with, "So when are we going to set the wedding date?"
Unreal: Whoa, there!
Lady-seeker: OK, ask me anything you want.
Does "infused with inertia" refer to a drug-induced state, or...?
N-o-o-o! [Laughs] I'm sipping a little soda here, but no, what it means is I'm sick and tired of going out. I'm tired of the rat race. I'm tired of running around.
How old are you?
Let me think, let me think. I am the big five-oh, but I look and act like I'm 85 to 90.
Are you generally "infused with inertia" on a couch, a recliner or in a hot tub?
Ooh, a hot tub. God, I haven't been in a hot tub in years — that'd be great. I'm infused with — look "infused" up in the dictionary. I'm full of inertia. And full of crap, too.
So when you say you're "primarily watching DVD movies," do you mean flicks like Erin Brockovich or Erin Cockovich?
Erin what-you-call-it! [Laughs] What'd you say? See, when I went in for an ingrown-toenail removal, they mixed my records up with the next patient's and they removed my entire brain.
But you can still argue before the U.S. Supreme Court?
Well, listen, I never understood legal words, and that's why I have had to move around a lot.
So: Brockovich or Cockovich?
Cockovich? Like with a "c," for Charlie?
Well, I happen to like that first syllable. Now, I'm not easy. But as I said to my last date, "Playboy's Playmate of the Year was banging on my front door, and what are you going to do?" You have to help the girl out. Now, you can't just jump in the sack with somebody until you get to know them five or ten minutes. [Pause] Are you there?