News Item No. 1: Americans will collectively spend $480 million on Halloween costumes for their pets this year. That’s more than twice what was spent on pet costumes in 2010. The increase is attributed to people sending photos of costumed dogs and cats on social media.
No, Daphne. No, Tawny. I will not be spending one thin dime on canine costumes for either of you. Yes, I know Daphne was, in her youth, selected to be the Christmas portrait poster pooch for a Tacoma pet store. It was the beseeching look in her eyes underneath her fake reindeer antlers that won it for her. And I promised myself never again to pretend that my dogs are anything other than dogs—which is more than enough for them to be.
But what the heck. Yeah, I’ll post their photos on social media. Without costumes. They’re just going to have to look furry, not funny.
News Item No. 2: Americans now consider the official age for being “old” is 74, which just happens to be my age. Nine years ago, Americans thought “old” began at age 68. You might call that creeping ageism. We’ve gained six years in a little less than a decade. No wonder I haven’t been feeling old, until, maybe now.
A few years ago I bought Roger Rosenblatt’s small book, “Rules for Aging.” In his introduction he explains the book is a guide “intended for people who wish to age successfully, or at all.” Then he cautions: “Growing older is as much an art as it is a science, and it requires fewer things to do than not to do.” Which may be why I haven’t got around to reading the rest of the book yet. I will when I’m six years older—a decade or so from now.
News Item No. 3: The New York Times reported that Jared Kushner paid almost no federal income taxes during at least five of the past eight years despite his net worth of nearly $324 million. All of this nonpayment by the President’s son-in-law was perfectly legal, the newspaper acknowledged. For example: in 2015 Kushner reported $1.7 million in income and investment gains but $8.3 million in losses, based on depreciating value of his buildings.
Kushner reportedly has interests in lots of real estate. So do I. With property tax payments due on Halloween, I was thinking about the various kinds of real estate I have a share in: schools, lovely parks, a dandy library within walking distance, paved streets. I don’t blame people for paying no more taxes than the law requires. I qualify for the senior citizen discount on my property taxes, and you’d better believe I take it. Mr. Kushner can have his depreciating buildings. Schools, parks and libraries that my fellow citizens and I invest in have a value that only increases.
(Note: All of the above items were reported in the news magazine “The Week” Oct. 26, 2018. No fake news here.)