By Charlotte Latvala
One of the wonderful things about turning 50 is that you no longer feel obligated to participate in unpleasant social functions.
But simply shouting “Hell, no!” won’t win you any friends when someone asks you to chaperone a high school event or coordinate the neighborhood garage sale. So the next time some busy-body suggests you lend a hand, pitch in, or do your share, just…
- Agree to do it, then pretend you forgot. You forget your car keys, your wallet, and your kids’ names. You’re old. Who could expect you to remember a dull event scheduled weeks ago?
- Talk openly about your gambling problem. If anyone suggests you may not have a gambling problem, bet them that you do.
- Make an excuse so elaborate, people have no idea what you’re talking about by the time you get to the end of your story and they just want to get away from you. “And then my mechanic – do you know Dan? – he’s the son of that guy who went to Alaska and never came back, although I sometimes get him confused with the other Dan – you know, the accountant who lives down the street from my mom, the one with the fake tan? Did I tell you what the IRS told her? Well, this Dan blab la bla….” See? You lost everyone at the first Dan.
- Hint at a disgusting medical condition. It doesn’t have to be real. Simply pull the chairperson aside and whisper, “Is it ok for me to participate? You know, with my skin problem?” Such over-sharing will get you out of any number of annoying tasks.
- Wave money around. At this point in your life, it’s worth $20 (or $50, or maybe even $1,000) not to have to chair another wrapping paper sale.
- Fake an emergency involving your kids. No one has to know that there’s dead air on the other end of that cell phone, and the chance of one of your kids actually calling you is about as likely as Jupiter crashing into Mars.
- Clutch your chest, Fred Sanford-style. No one under 40 will get the reference and they’ll think you’re having an actual heart attack.
- If all else fails, just say invoke Nancy Reagan and say no.
- Say no again.
- Really mean it this time. Say it with us.