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I’m With Stupid – May 17, 2013

by Todd Hartley

Todd Hartley-smallTimes are tough these days. I think we can all agree on that. In recent polls, something like 123 percent of Americans younger than 70 said they didn’t think they’d ever be able to retire, and Social Security currently provides so little money that it’s just not realistic to count on it as a viable source of income in one’s dotage. It’s a pretty scary picture. It’s almost enough to make one not want to get old.

But we like to keep things positive here at “I’m With Stupid.” Rather than focusing on the myriad problems afflicting our nation’s elderly and soon-to-be elderly, we’re going to shine the spotlight on some old people who’ve decided to take their fates into their own hands and not allow their futures to be dictated by the capricious whims of the marketplace.

Let’s say you’re a septuagenarian living in a retirement home but you find you’re having a hard time making ends meet. What do you do?

Realistically, you have four options. You could and probably would complain loudly about it to everyone within earshot, you could tighten your belt and live a more modest lifestyle, you could look for a job as a Walmart greeter, or you could do what an inspirational group of seniors in New Jersey did and start your own business.

Seems like a perfect way to keep the elderly active and generate a little extra cash each month, doesn’t it? I imagine that right now you have an image in your mind of something quaint and age-appropriate like little old ladies making jelly or knitting sweaters to sell at a farmers market. The case in New Jersey is almost exactly like that, as long as you replace the words “jelly” and “sweaters” with “crack cocaine” and “prostitutes.”

Yes, you read that right: A 75-year-old man living in a senior housing complex in Englewood was accused last week of running a prostitution ring. Another resident of the complex, a 66-year-old woman, was accused of allowing residents and visitors to smoke crack in her apartment. Both have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a nuisance, which is a crime I’d never heard of before. It struck me as ironic because as the parent of a 6-year-old, there are times when I’d have to plead guilty to that one.

According to authorities, the suspect allegedly used his apartments and some of the complex’s open areas for drugs and prostitution, meaning that if you’d taken your family there to go say hi to Grandma, you could have walked around a corner and seen a couple of old people smoking crack and getting it on.

I’m sorry. I should have warned you that one was coming. I can’t un-envision it now, either.

The pimp was evidently a feared man around the complex, too. Some of the residents interviewed by police said there were areas where they wouldn’t go because they were afraid of being killed. The local news reported that, “A lack of security in the building is believed to have contributed to the problem,” which seemed like a pretty safe assumption to me.

A man who had loved ones in the complex offered up the best comment on the situation: “Why they so late in life to start doing stuff they should have did years ago, or shouldn’t have Touched, period?” he asked. “Why do you wait this late?”

I’m not sure which part of that statement I love the most.

None of the alleged prostitutes was arrested, which is probably good. I imagine most of them were unfortunate victims of circumstance. With any luck, this incident will help them see the error in their ways and encourage them to start making jelly and sweaters instead of fellating old men in stairwells.

As for the pimp, he should go to jail. Pimping is a criminal enterprise regardless of how old you are, especially if you toss in drugs and violence. Throw the book at him.

Speaking of that, it turns out there were really five options. Apparently, if you were having a hard time making ends meet on a Social Security check, you also could turn to a life of crime.

I’m not saying a guy who’s a 75-year-old pimp wasn’t going to be a criminal anyway; I’m just saying some of those 70-year-old hookers might not have be selling themselves if we took better care of them. Let’s shoot for that as a nation.

There’s a senior center planned for the property across the ditch from Todd Hartley’s. He’s already called the cops.

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05 2013

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