From the Mailbox to the Trash

I got a flyer from the AARP, complete with temporary membership. The last time I checked, you needed to be twice as old as I to be a member, but I guess in these tough economic times, they're expanding beyond their core constituency. In today's AARP, even young people can lobby for special treatment for old people!

After all, they dropped the "retired" part of their mission years ago, along with "American," "association." and "persons." I'm not quite sure when they KFC-ized themselves, but AARP no longer appears to be an acronym for anything, nor do you need to be retired, or even American, to be a member.

I'm reminded of the story behind the name of King County in Washington State. In 1852, the Oregon territorial legislature established two counties in modern-day Washington; in a blatant suck-up, they named these counties Pierce and King, after Franklin Pierce and William Rufus de Vane King, the President- and Vice President-elect.

King turned out to be a bum horse to place your bets on; he died the day after the inauguration. Thus, in 1986, when the county government decided to rename the county after Martin Luther King Jr., they didn't need to change the letterhead.