Thinking Outside the Rectangular Pine Box

A friend of mine is starting a new job tomorrow, and I wanted to offer her some help.  That’s what friends do.

Dear Sarah,


Congratulations on your new job at Fading Twilight, an assisted-living, acute-care, awaiting-the-last-buzzer facility for the elderly!  I must admit when you said you were going to be marketing for a nursing home, I pictured you going to Shaw’s every Friday to pick up 2% milk for Mrs. Dingle, Chips Ahoys for Mr. Boy and a gallon of Gallo for Mr. Keesey.  Marketing is certainly an honorable profession and offering respectful care to folks taking their final lap is a good thing.  Those things said, though, I have a few unconventional ideas to offer.  After all, even if you can’t keep your residents outside of a rectangular pine box, you don’t have to trap your thinking inside that box.  (That last sentence is not one of my formal ideas, but it could be worked into a slogan for the facility.  No acknowledgement to me necessary.  We’re friends.  Although friends do moisten each other’s beaks, if you know what I mean.  Here are my five free ideas for you to make a huge impression at Fading Twilight.

  • With no experience in the I-saved-the-last-dance-for-you-and-now-I-can’t-even-hear-the-music business, I can only assume one of the biggest challenges is getting family members with check-writing privileges to bring their parent in and sign up for the monthly withdrawal. I can almost hear them now, “But Mom doesn’t want to go.  She wants to stay in her own home, where she knows where everything is.  Blah, blah, blah.”  To break through this resistance, offer 30-days free storage for anyone older than, say, 75.  Communicate that if an active young family wants to go on vacation without dragging Granmama along, they can simply drop her off at Fading Twilight, sign the form and move along.  If they come back and pick her up within 30 days, there is no charge.  I guarantee you won’t see those loving kids before Thanksgiving morning at 11:30 and they’ll have Grammy back by 3:00, so you won’t lose any billable days.
  • Speaking of billable days, I’m sure the damn meddling government won’t let you bill for discontents who wander off from Fading Twilight. If you’ve found that Invisible Fence dog collars have lost their effectiveness, you might try telling residents you’re doing a community theater remake of “Cool Hand Luke” and attach them by ankle chains.  If any complain, a Strother Martinesque line reading of “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate” is enough to put them back in a movie theater in 1967.
  • I’m assuming Fading Twilight, like all really up-to-date homes for those with dried oatmeal on their chins and their names pinned to their windbreakers, has a crematorium for those who have taken the dirt nap. To cut down on food expenses and add protein to residents’ diet, let me tell you no one looks inside a cremation urn for recognizable bone chunks.  (In case this should be read by law-enforcement officials, please note the series of dots here has no line whatsoever.)
  • This next idea is, shall we say, very challenging to do tastefully and respectfully, which is the goal of all pornography. When I was 15, I found girls 14-19 very attractive indeed.  When I was 30, I found woman 25-40 very attractive indeed.  When I am 85, I expect I’ll find women 75-100 very attractive indeed.  With the population aging, I think it’s time for a breakout senior porn actress, and maybe she’s living at Fading Twilight.  If any of the hotter grandmothers object, tell them a lot of legitimate stars started out this way.  Betty White, for instance.
  • Finally, for now, is a way to expand your market infinitely. I understand Fading Twilight takes in anyone judged unable to make decisions for themselves, no matter the age.  Below, I present the solution to this problem.  Completing this assessment demonstrates you shouldn’t have shoes with laces.

Fading Twilight

Confusion Assessment Instrument™


This is not a timed test, so do not look at your watch.  If you find these directions confusing, do not reveal this fact to anyone.

On a scale of 1 to 5, please answer Yes or No.

1.  These days, things seem more like they used to be than they ever were.
2.  If I had my life to live over, I would live over a Chinese restaurant.
3.  I sometimes feel.
4.  If I could be anything in the world, I would be imaginary.
5.  If I were and actor, I’d specialize in playing dead..
6.  My friends are mainly inanimate.
7.  When I have free time, I like to watch the radio.
8.  I don’t trust all of my body parts.
9.  If I could read my mind, I would ask for the audio Version
10.   If I had to keep a secret, I would make sure to feed it and give it exercise.
11.  When forced to make a decision, I hear my mother calling me home.
12.  If I could be anything I wanted, I would ask a stranger to choose for me.
13.  Given a choice of meals, I would choose oat.
14.  Sometimes I find it hard to remember things that have not happened yet.
15.  I like the sound of water going down the drain.  It reminds me of fish sticks.
16.  Sometimes I can smell my grandmother’s presence.  Being dead for 30 years, her odor is distinctive..


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