Feb 4 - A Lifetime for 10 Bucks

Around this time of the year, every year, one of the intrepid explorers who resides in the bus-house has a birthday. But this year was different than every prior year.

This year that person has attained geezer-hood, is now an official senior citizen, an old-timer. And to prove it, the National Park Service -- an official agency of the United States Government, took time out of a busy schedule to honor this individual with a brand spanking new Inter-agency Senior Pass. This hunk of plastic, when offered in combination with a government issued photo i.d., will allow this old-timer, and a car-full of others, access to most facilities managed by the National Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Corps of Engineers. In addition to covering most admission fees it usually cuts the price of camping in half. That's right... a 50% discount!! (Where's my danged senior citizen discount??). I mean... how good a gift is that?

But two things concern me. First, I fear spending cuts, facility closures, and rule changes may decrease the value of the pass as we move into the future... to the point where it could become more valuable as an windshield ice scraper. And second, the government, for all the flack they take about mismanaging our resources and wasteful spending, does have some smart people who know about statistics, actuarial tables, and whatnot... and know what they're doing when they create programs like this. If they're willing to offer a LIFETIME pass for only 10 bucks... well, I'm a little concerned about what they know and what I don't know. If it sounds too good to be true... maybe it is??

Weak attempts at levity aside, there's at least one old geezer who's pretty darned happy this week.
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