Lot of talk about gun control and putting armed guards in schools. That's the National Rifle Association's solution to violence in American schools. Yep, put an armed and trained guard in all 100,000 American schools. And seniors, who do you think would furnish the workforce for such a plan?
Well, people working regular jobs might not be able to give up time to sit armed and idle in schools. They've got to be productive. But seniors? Time on their hands and in some cases skills that would apply. Today's seniors grew up when hunting live game was a common experience, where handling shotguns and .22s was a passage of maturity.
So with 100,000 schools the NRA plan would probably require at least two armed and trained guards in every school. Consider Carson High School, big, lots of space --one guard at each end of the school and one in the center. Multiply that 100,000 by say two guards, that's 200,000 guards.
Now many seniors would obviously not be able to serve. But the younger ones, many with time on their hands, would be ideal. Retired, yes, but not infirm. And there are 15 million seniors out there, 14,000 in Carson City alone. We're the biggest untapped labor pool in the country and many of us would be happy to volunteer.
Of course, some NRA backers want more than a guard or two for each school. One for each room and you begin to get some pretty staggering numbers. Maybe there aren't enough seniors to do the job. And who else other than seniors would work for the undoubted minimum wages involved? (Let's not total up the cost, we're running on empty as it is.)
I'm afraid that seniors pulling guard duty would hardly work. And if it did, if seniors were comfortable with a Colt .45 or a 12-gauge shotgun, how long could they remain vigilant 30 days a month, nine months a year. Boredom would set in and any edge a senior had would diminish. And workforce volunteers, one day a month? Not very realistic, think of the confusion, the scheduling.
So, Mr. NRA, don't think the seniors would do the job, and they are about all there is left.
WATCH YOUR MEDICARE STATEMENTS
All of us on Medicare receive regular reports on our medical bills and co-pays. In an effort to decrease fraud by larcenous doctors, we are urged to carefully go over these statements to check for fraud. I did so recently and sent a letter to the Medicare report provider after I found an entry that didn't make sense to me.
It was a bill for $795 out of Oklahoma from a doctor I did not know or recognize. Said the doctor had provided emergency care for me. About a month later I got a call from the Medicare people, checking on my letter.
Did I not know this doctor? No.
Was I ever in Oklahoma and needed emergency care? No.
Was I in an emergency room around the dates mentioned? Maybe.
The caller asked me to look at the date. I did and it was from September this year, and yes I had gone to Carson Tahoe's emergency room that month. And who treated me? I couldn't say, several doctors looked in on me and I never got names.
That explained it, the caller said. The doctor in question was based at Carson Tahoe's emergency room, but his billing office was in Oklahoma. The call was concluded with an admonition to always report questionable health providers, Medicare is always happy to investigate.
I obviously learned from the whole affair and will continue to check over my Medicare statements. Maybe next time I will check my calendar for dates and try to catch my doctors' names. And keep them all honest.
POST NEW YEAR'S REMINDERS
Sip tea. Cut calories by trying tea rather than soda. Besides, sodas have sugar and other unhealthy stuff.
If you imbibe alcohol, stick to the clear spirits as dark liquors are more likely to cause hangovers because they more congeners which are created during fermentation and make one feel ill.
Take an example from the Italians who often water their wine. Or mix wine with a seltzer for a spritzer - a festive drink with fewer calories.
Don't fall for hangover remedies. A Netherlands study found them to be useless. Instead, drink moderately, don't drink with an empty stomach and alternate water drinks and alcohol mixtures to keep hydrated. Aspirin and ibuprofen can help with headaches.
Hard-earned advice, thank you!
• Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.