And I took this really seriously. I’m not sure the point of the meme was to cause me this much thought … or anxiety … but I’ve spent the past week thinking about this. Had I taken my education as seriously as I take this question, I could probably compose my own theme song, or explain how one’s choice of theme song has something to do with a mathematical resonation, or even design a scientific experiment explaining how my id, ego, and superego would make different choices.
Fact is, I didn’t pay that much attention to my music lessons, my math classes, or my psychology minor. But lemme tell ya – this theme song question really has me thinking.
There are songs we remember that are special to us: remember the song that was playing the first time someone asked you to dance? Mine was “Brown Eyed Girl,” and I sang that song for weeks pretending it was about me. The first song I ever danced with my husband to was “Layla,” and even though I snarkily told him, “You can’t dance to Layla!” (he should have known then that I was a smart ass!!) I will never, ever, ever forget that moment.
But a theme song is a “song or melody strongly associated with someone or something.” And yes, while I do associate those songs with those people, I wouldn’t consider them my “theme songs.”
(Yep, you can see I gave this too much thought!)
First I obsessed over the fact that we probably have many different theme songs for different stages of our lives. Surely my 8-year-old self had a different theme song (“Do You Want to Know a Secret?“) than my 22-year-old self (“Stayin’ Alive“), or my 45-year-old self (“Survivor“) … or my self right now. And even my self right now probably has a long list of theme songs depending on the circumstances.
But after a week of spending valuable time on a MEME question, that most people answered in seconds, I’ve come up with a (partial!!!!) list of my theme songs.
“… singing Do Wah Diddy, Diddy Dum, Diddy Do. Snapping her fingers and shuffling her feet” … and that’s when she face planted, just as natural as could be!
That’s what happened Tuesday when I was jogging down the street, headphones blaring some awesome tune from my 60s mix, definitely shuffling my feet, hoping no one was around so that I wouldn’t have to put on my mask, but then noticing those four people standing right there, and blam, next thing I know, I’m flying face-first into the sidewalk.
FLAT. ON. MY. FACE!
When I was a kid, I fell all the time. I thought it was so cool to go flying off my bike and scrape the living daylights out of myself. If it stopped bleeding within 30 minutes or so, I’d keep playing. If it kept bleeding – enough that stitches were a possibility and therefore cool and worth the trouble – I’d go home for a professional assessment from my mom (who was not, in any way, a healthcare professional but was a nervous 50s mom and therefore more likely to think stitches were in order!).
The problem was, she always wanted to “clean” it first. If I was LUCKY, she’d pull out the Mercurochrome and pour it all over injury, leaving me not only my giant abrasion, but lots of red-dyed skin to call even more attention to my bravery when I showed it off at school the next day.
Mercurochrome didn’t hurt. But then there was Merthiolate. Killed the same germs, left the same cool red stains all over you, BUT HURT LIKE HELL!! Oh, how I would pray that my mother wouldn’t use Merthiolate – it took all the cool out of the injury when the treatment would make you cry.
Like my other favorite childhood drug, Paregoric, which was removed from the market because of the opium content, MERcurochrome and MERthiolate were also removed from the market because of the MERcury content and risk of mercury poisoning. Of course, there were levels to consider, but when you fell as much as I did, the likelihood of mercury poisoning probably wasn’t out of the question.
So back to my recent “senior fall.” Here’s the problem: the minute you fall as a “senior” you don’t typically think, “oh cool. I’m going to have an awesome scar and a great story to tell at school.” Instead, you think “did I just break my hip?”
And here’s why that’s what happens:
You’re not seven years old and you don’t go to elementary school anymore.
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling—usually by falling sideways.
Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.
And trust me, the list goes on. If you’re 65 or over, just save yourself some time. Don’t bother looking up “Falls in Seniors” – just know it’s bad, and depressing, and … bad.
So, I freaked out for about a few hours, during which I couldn’t stop bleeding because of those damn daily aspirin I take for my “senior” heart.
And then I “googled” how to prevent falls in ‘the elderly” and found out two really important things:
LOTS of people google “how to prevent falls in seniors” – I bet everyone over 60 does it after the first time they fall!
Exercise is one of the best fall prevention strategies there is. It makes you stronger, keeps you flexible, and may slow bone loss from osteoporosis.
So, I thought about any recent falls I’ve had, and they all had pretty much one thing in common … I just wasn’t paying attention to the jogging AT ALL!!
Just take a look at that second paragraph!!! I didn’t fall because my medication makes me dizzy, or because my balance is compromised, or because my eyesight is bad. I fell because I WASN’T PAYING ATTENTION!!!! Probably the same reason I flew off the front of my bike four million times!!!
So, here are my takeaways:
I’m going to keep jogging – but maybe I’ll try to find a softer surface to do it on.
I’m still pretty proud of my giant scrapes and cuts.
I got a Facebook message recently from Major General Jonathan A. Maddux, the US Army’s Program Executive Officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI).
This man is a real American Hero with awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit with four oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the NATO Medal, and more.
And a smart one too … a B.S. in English, Language and Literature, a B.S. in Business Administration in Operations Research Analysis, a master’s degree in Administration, a master’s degree in Telecommunications, a MSST in Strategy from the United States Army War College – and the list goes on! This is one educated dude!!
So, why, I wonder, did he say:
For such a highly educated man, this Jonathan Maddux wasn’t doing a good job of pulling out the Strunk & White’s. And despite how much I would actually like to know MG Maddux, I doubt I top his “100 People I’d Like to Meet” list.
You should know this about me: I don’t trust a lot of people (just ask my therapist). But for that split second, I rationalized that maybe this really was Major General Jonathan A. Maddux. And that’s scary – because if someone like me, who makes my husband show me his license for identification purposes, can have that moment of doubt, then imagine how easily a more trusting soul could be duped.
Was it because I was a “senior” that I almost fell for it? Nope. According to a Federal Trade Commission report, millennials are more likely to fall for an online scam than seniors – 40 percent of adults age 20-29 who have reported fraud ended up losing money in a fraud case. Only 18 percent of consumers 70 and older have lost money in reported fraud cases, but when they DO lose, they lose bigger sums than younger victims.
Online fraud, (scams that aim to obtain your personal information – passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers – in order to ultimately get money) probably happens more than you think it does. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) “2019 Internet Crime Report,” 467,361 complaints were received in 2019 – an average of nearly 1,300 every day in the United States – resulting in more than $3.5 billion in losses to individual and business victims (again, in the US, in 2019).
While email is still a common entry point (phishing), fraud also takes place through text messages (“smishing”) and fake websites (“pharming”).
You might laugh at how ridiculous these scams seem, how easily you can see right through them, but the success of many of these scams is their ability to prey on your fears. The fear of COVID-19, the fear of not being able to take care of your family, or just the fear of being alone can open the door to fraud.
So, having come so close to getting scammed, and as depressing as this is, here’s a list of some of the more typical types of online fraud, with links to (legitimate) sites for more information.
COVID-19 Vaccination Scams – first, disgusting! Talk about preying on the weak! These scammers may contact you about paying a fee to receive early vaccination access, paying to get on a waiting list, or by saying they are a physician or insurance company asking for personal information for a clinical trial. Want credible information about COVID vaccinations? Click here.
Greeting card scams – “Happy Valentine’s Day! Someone you know has sent you an ecard” – so you open the email (which looks completely legit), and you click on the logo (which also looks completely legit), and you’re sent to a website that is booby-trapped with malicious software (malware) or ransomeware which ultimately can result in your personal information getting into the hands of criminals.
Lottery scam – Congratulations! You won the lottery. Your worries are over, you’re an instant billionaire! All you have to do is pay a handling fee (lots of variations on this, but you get the idea).
Hitman scam – This is just what you think it is – pay up or risk the alternative. And it seems these scammers have taken this even further … in a newer version of this scam, you could receive a letter from “the FBI” saying there’s been an arrest in the (hitman scammer) case, so contact “the FBI” to provide more information so the case can move forward.
Fake antivirus software – “Your computer may be infected with a virus – download this software (or go to this site to purchase antivirus software now).” Close that pop-up window and run legitimate security software you’ve installed on your own device.
Travel scams – Right now, the thought of getting out of our houses and traveling sounds amazing. but watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals that turn out to be fraudulent rental listings, timeshare resales, and fake travel club memberships.
Event ticket scams – Lured in by great prices or the ability to obtain a ticket to a sold-out event – only to never see the ticket or get to the venue only to find that the barcode doesn’t work, and the ticket is a fake – last year more than 200 reports of ticket scams were received by the Better Business Bureau.
Bitcoin/cryptocurrency scams – This summer, the Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Warren Buffet (a confirmed bitcoin critic!) and other high-profile personalities were hacked giving the address of a (their) bitcoin wallet and promising that any payments made to that address would be doubled and sent back.
Fake shopping websites – They may be incredibly authentic-looking copycat sites or built-from-scratch sites offering amazing deals, but whether you end up actually buying something (and giving scammers your financial information) or clicking around and downloading malware, if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. (You might remember how many of these sites sprang up playing on consumers’ fears of the Coronavirus.)
Typosquatting – Lookalike domains/URLs (amozon.com instead of amazon.com), that count on our busy lifestyles to overlook that one little typo, hope to fool you into believing you’re on the site you intended, either to defraud you directly from the site, download malware on your computer, obtain your login credentials for the authentic site, or to extort the real domain owner in an attempt to sell back the misspelled domain in order to protect their reputation.
Free Wi-Fi Scams – You’ve probably heard this a million times, but make sure you’re on a SAFE public network when accessing the Internet outside of your trusted network. Either through man-in-the- middle attacks or typosquatting legit Wi-Fi sites (looks just like the name of the site you intended to visit), your login information, credit card information, and other personal information can end up in the hands of criminals.
Loyalty points phishing scam – Here’s an example: you’re contacted via a very legitimate-looking email (or by text) from a representative from your airline rewards program to update your loyalty points program information. You may not only end up giving out personal information, but you may also be giving your points to these scammers.
Job offer scams – Again preying on the COVID crisis, online job scams have increased over the past year, offering remote working opportunities and high salaries. Just pay the fee upfront and give out your personal information.
Fake Checks, Gift Cards and Overpayment Scams – “Pay your bill by gift card or your utility company will cut off your power.” “Claim your prize (for something you don’t even remember entering) but first, you have to use a gift card to pay fees.” Or someone buys something from you online, sends a check for more than the purchase price, and then asks you to give them the difference on a gift card (oh, and that check they used? It’ll probably turn out to be a fake).
Online Tech Support Scams – These scams seize upon your fear that your computer is not working properly and get you to pay for (unnecessary) tech support.
Tried and true: The Nigerian scam still rakes in about $700,000 a year. You know this one? Someone who claims to be overseas royalty contacts you to share an investment opportunity. Right, because it’s that easy to get rich.
While these are only some examples of online fraud, and tactics and techniques to defraud online show up every day, the GOOD NEWS is that agencies are making arrests, technologies are being developed to prevent fraud, and there’s a LOT you can do to protect yourself.
“Individuals need to be extremely skeptical and double check everything. In the same way your bank and online accounts have started to require two-factor authentication – apply that to your life,” says IC3 Chief Donna Gregory. “Verify requests in person or by phone, double check web and email addresses, and don’t follow the links provided in any messages.”
It shocked me to (almost) be on the receiving end of a scam. And I’d much rather write about kittens and world peace, but this stuff pisses me off. So if one person can avoid being the victim of fraud as a result of this post, then it’s worth it to write a depressing post.
But unless five-star General Douglas MacArthur reaches out to me from his Arlington National Cemetery Facebook Messenger account to become my friend and then places a hard drive-destroying virus on my computer, I promise I’ll write something funnier next week!
I got an email the other day from a plastic surgery practice reminding me that if I’m ever unsure what to get “that special someone for their birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day” I should give them the gift of beauty – a gift certificate for “a wide range of procedures, from non-surgical to surgical” that the gift card amount could be applied toward.
At first, I thought, ooof, how could you give that to someone without them taking it as an insult? Oh man, I can just see THAT anniversary celebration:
Does he think I “need work”?
If so, a $25 gift certificate doesn’t even come close to how expensive this stuff is … (but phew, I did a really good job of hiding that BOTOX receipt).
But if he gives me a really big gift certificate, does that mean he thinks I look like a Picasso painting and need an appointment immediately?
Yikes. This gift is just a disaster waiting to happen!
But wait. Let me be honest.
While I totally appreciate and applaud women and men who are against doing a little “sumpin sumpin” every now and then, I’m not one of them.
And this hair? Guess what? I’m 64 years old … my hair isn’t really this color (just take a look at the two-toned action I have going on during the pandemic). Nope, it’s Melanie’s artistry and experience.
And although you may think that I have naturally smoky eyelids, ha! Fooled you again! That’s makeup! And not just makeup, but hours watching Dominique Sachse’s “Makeup Facelift” (and all her other videos too. She’s amazing!).
Yep, skincare, dyed hair, and makeup. So, are BOTOX, or fillers, or even, GASP, surgery such a big deal? Well, I don’t think so.
One thing I’ve learned during this fun time we’re all calling “the Coronavirus Pandemic” but I prefer to call “The Year I Got My Shit Together” is that I’m the same person with my two-toned hair and flesh-colored eyelids that I am when I dye my hair and wear makeup. I’m totally comfortable either way. And the people I’ve come in contact with haven’t told me to return that painting to the museum or stopped letting me shop at their grocery store.
I also LIKE knowing that a little moisturizer at night can keep my skin looking healthy. I LIKE watching Dominique’s videos and trying out her techniques. I LIKE going to Melanie and blabbing about what we’ve been doing lately, new television shows, and how I still want to look like Chrissie Hynde.
And I like knowing that if those little horizontal lines on my forehead are bugging me, I know just where to go to get rid of them. And I’m fine with that.
Because the BIGGEST thing that has been reinforced during “TYIGMST” is this: when a virus can cause you a year-long isolation, when lives are lost from disease and hatred, when (you can fill in this blank – there are lots of examples) … then REALLY???? Who gives a damn whether someone has plastic surgery or not, or chooses to have gray hair, or isn’t a size 4, or IS a size 4???
So whether it’s a gift certificate for plastic surgery or a gift certificate to The Cheesecake Factory, the important takeaway here is that you are someone’s “special someone” … and these days, that’s really all that counts.
I like to think I’m pretty savvy when it comes to using new technology to simplify my life and streamline my work. The key words here are “like to think,” because just when I think I’m at the front of the I’m-just-like-the-kids superuser line, something (or in this case, someone) introduces me to a hack that’s been around for about 15 years – and I’m that old-lady Luddite in a babushka, talking about the glory of the days before machines.
So what is this newfangled technology? Get ready: electronic check deposit (and yes, I can hear some of you laughing … but I’ll bet, and by “bet” I mean “hope,” there are a couple of you out there who, like me, haven’t yet joined the check-selfie crowd).
I was introduced to mobile check deposit yesterday when one of my awesome nephews told me to “just deposit the check with your phone.” EXQUEEZE ME? Deposit it with my phone? Okay, yes, I have seen ads about electronic check deposits, but I haven’t DONE it!! I’ve also seen pictures of people giving their personal banking information to strangers in the hopes that those strangers will defraud them and ruin their lives irrevocably, but I haven’t done that either!
Turns out, of all of the possible online banking features, electronic check deposit (you just snap a picture of the front and signed-back of a check on your smartphone and deposit it using your bank’s mobile app) is actually one of the last to catch on. According to a 2018 Harland Clarke “Mobile Deposit Consumer Survey” (the most recent I could find), about 37% of people age 55+ used the feature at that time.
But COVID-19 added a little oomph to mobile banking usage in the last ten months.
In a September 2020 interview with Karen Webster in PYMNTS.com, Mike Diamond, general manager of digital banking at Mitek, said that we’re unlikely to revert to pre-pandemic behavior when it comes to things like going to a bank branch or, God forbid, using a “germ-laden ATM” just to deposit a check. And once banks show consumers how to use mobile check deposit (and illustrate its safety), we’ll all be using the feature regularly.
And all this doesn’t even take into consideration other digital payment channels, like Venmo, that reinforce predictions that paper checks are going the way of … well, paper.
Okay, I think it’s worth a try – according to everything I’ve read, it’s as safe as other online and mobile banking functions. But if you’re going to join me, here are some important considerations:
Download your mobile banking app directly from your bank or credit union’s website to make sure it’s the latest version of the official app
Only use banking apps downloaded from your phone’s native app store since these can “enforce certificate pinning to avoid man-in-the-middle” attacks which could happen at unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots. (In regular language … certificate pinning is an extra layer of security that ensures that you’re really going to the site you think you’re going to, and “man-in-the-middle” is that asshole who wants to steal your information)
Avoid depositing fraudulent checks by only accepting paper checks from people you know and trust (duh)
Lock your smartphone using a unique PIN or biometric information (facial recognition, fingerprint recognition)
Keep an eye on your account – go through your deposits, interest payments, and debits on a regular basis.
Also, banks may limit the amount you can deposit and you may experience delays in processing and clearing, there may be fees involved, and some types of checks may be excluded. To avoid delays, banks urge mobile deposit customers to ensure their signature is legible (yes, you still have to endorse the check!!), check images are clear (the app will help you with this), and the amount you enter matches the amount on the check.
And don’t forget to submit/send it (according to lots of articles, this happens … frequently!).
Last, they encourage users to keep the paper check until you’ve double “checked” that it has cleared (check images are not stored on your phone) and then shred the paper check.
So, what do you think? Have you used mobile check deposit technology? Do you think you’ll give it a try? Want me to try it first and report back? Send me a check (any amount is fine, but please keep in mind that my bank limits me to $10,000 per month) and I’ll let you know if it works.
Mitek is a software company that specializes in digital identity verification and mobile capture built on artificial intelligence algorithms and allows people to deposit checks via their mobile phones.