The Most Interesting Man in the World

Years ago when I was still working, I walked out onto my back deck. We lived on top of a hillside ridge and the backyard area was my sanctuary and a place I visited every morning. I especially liked the way the sunlight filtered through the beautiful tree hanging over our deck. That morning there was something very different. The tree was missing. I called the woman who lived below us and not thinking out my message abruptly said, “Where’s the tree?” My retired neighbor lady explained that the afternoon before some men had come to her door and told her they were trimming trees in the area and noticed a large tree on the other side of her driveway. They were concerned that the roots would soon cause damage to her wall and driveway. They also said that since they were in the area, they could give her a good deal on removing it. She did. “But it’s my tree,” I yelled into the phone. A while later, feeling terrible, she brought over some cookies she baked for our family, but it could not make up for my beautiful tree I so enjoyed.

I thought about that this week when my mother told me she had spoken to the wife of one of my late father’s old Navy buddies. He is ninety-one years old and was in the hospital recovering from a procedure in which a dentist had given him three new dental implants. I’m sure the dentist was wearing a mask, but it wasn’t surgical.

As people become seniors, they may or may not become more gullible, but they certainly become targets for a variety of scams, both legal and illegal. Older folks are more likely to have some savings, good credit, and time to talk to those interested in scamming them out of their money. While it’s more difficult to detect a legal scam such as cosmetic dental surgery for a ninety-year-old, I would advise a second and trusted opinion on any large financial decision. Here is some information you may find useful in detecting scams and frauds:

Fake Charities

– Always ask to see written materials about the charity and never contribute immediately.

– Since many scam artists use the names of legitimate organizations such as Red Cross or Salvation Army, should you decide to contribute, never write  a check to a person or unknown organization

– If in doubt, you can check out a charity on the following website

                                                                                        For Charities and Donors – U.S. BBB

Door-to-Door Scams

– Be wary of “free inspections” of roofs, air conditioners, etc.

– Free gifts for a few minutes of your time

– No proof of contractor license or other professional identification

– Handwritten contracts

– The “This offer is only good for today” pitch

(Believe it or not, I was once burned by one of these guys. In my case, I had called a legitimate and recommended contractor for an estimate. That guy didn’t show up, but while I was waiting, one of these door-to-door guys rang my bell. Expecting someone else, I greeted him with, “Well, your late, but come on in.” It wasn’t until he started the job did I know it wasn’t the right person. He wasn’t so much a crook as a really poor workman.)

Pyramid and Ponzi Schemes

– There is no such thing as a get-rich-quick investment

– Be wary of any plan that has you recruiting others

– Be suspicious of investing in a company that has you making a large initial investment

– Always consult someone you trust in financial matters before making an investment

(A good friend of mine once invested in a company that made bicycles supposedly being sold in China. He was doubling his investment about once a month. After a few months, most of his friends were in on it too. Fortunately, I resisted the temptation. Good thing since it was a scam in which he and his friends lost all of their money.)


– “Congratulations, you have just won _ _ _ _. I don’t think so.  

– Never buy anything or send money in order to “claim a prize.” 

– Never give a telemarketer any personal information (this should be your rule for almost anyone you speak to over the phone)

I know there are a lot more scams and frauds that use living trusts, auto sales and repairs, sweetheart deals, health care, real estate, etc. As seniors, we should be wiser, and in most cases we probably are just that. It never hurts, however, to be reminded of all the creeps out there trying to get our money.

The Most Interesting Man in the World

I recently wrote about a friend of mine, Dr. Herbert Schub, that I labeled The Most Interesting Man in the World. That blog turned out to get the most hits of any blog I’ve ever written. Thanks to those of you who come here to read this blog, and thanks to Herb for being so damn interesting!










Least Likely To Be Seen Campaign Button:

I’m sure most of you have seen the commercials for Dos Equis beer that have been running the last several years. They feature an actor depicting “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” I love these commercials and enjoy the way in which the humor is played straight. Having just returned from a long and adventurous trip through the Caribbean, South America, Central America, and Mexico, I have a real candidate for the “Most Interesting” title. His name is Dr. Herbert Schub.

As a friend and frequent traveling companion, it’s clear to me that Herb should at least be considered for the title. Let’s look at his qualifications. Although he could retire, he continues his career as a teaching physician at a bay area hospital. He charms all the women he meets yet is completely devoted to his beautiful wife. Herb is always in learning mode with history being his favorite topic. He is a fitness fanatic and never misses his daily workouts that would put younger men to shame. His diet is controlled and carefully selected. He has an incredible sense of humor and a gift for telling jokes and stories complete with dialects and gestures. While traveling, in addition to his workouts, he attends lectures, takes dance lessons in the afternoon, dresses in a tuxedo for dinner, takes in the evening shows, and finishes the night socializing and dancing. In the case of our most recent travel adventure together, his activities also included boating in Aruba, zip lining in Costa Rica, and parasailing in Cabo San Lucas to name a few. If Dos Equis ever needs a replacement for their commercials, I think Herb should definitely be considered.   

When we reach retirement age, there is always the temptation to take our foot off the gas a little. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but we may miss so much of what life has to offer. It doesn’t have to be a great adventure to foreign lands to get motivated. Each day in retirement, my goals are to continue learning, seek new experiences, see new places and meet new people, and help those in need. As you age, you often meet people who tend to live in the past, as though their lives are over. Both my wife and I try very hard to look forward, to what the new day will bring. We love to be around others who do the same. It’s the only way to live.