{Traditionally Speaking}

Speaking from the Shady Acres Senior Care Center today, Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton announced the resounding success of an astonishing new bipartisan initiative.

“For years, Social Security has been a major issue which our nation’s leaders were too timid to address,” said McCain.

“Now,” continued Clinton, “thanks to a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, we can rest assured that the future of our nation’s seniors is getting brighter every day.”

As the audience applauded, the 527 residents of the Shady Acres were put into protective custody and loaded into U-Haul shipping trailers bound for the northeast coast of the forty-ninth state, Alaska.

“Over the years, many of my constituents have written to me concerned about the health status of our nation’s seniors,” said Clinton. “Nutrition has been an especially important concern. Many of our nation’s elders have subsisted on a diet high in cholesterols and saturated fats, which can be extremely bad for the heart. In addition, many seniors haven fallen prey to the sedentary lifestyle that afflicts so many Americans today.”

“But thanks to our new initiative,” said McCain, “hundreds and thousands of America’s elderly will now engage in a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle that requires them to trek for hours on end across the vast, pristine Alaska wilderness in search of a diet low in fats as well as in proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates.”

“Why, heck,” said Clinton, “When you factor in the scarcity of caribou and the huge influx of seniors, some of them will be lucky to eat once a month!”

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As a result of the McCain-Clinton Act,which met with almost unanimous acceptance in the House and Senate, all recipients of Social Security and Medicare will now be transferred from their increasingly expensive assisted-living facilities to millions of square miles of rent-free, shelter-free living facilities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has now been renamed the Arctic National Senior and Wildlife Refuge, or ANSWR.

“With increasing cost of living, many seniors have had to make their Social Security checks stretch painfully thin,” said McCain. “But, due to the complete lack of any sort of commerce, prices in the heart of ANSWR are approximately zero. And there’s no place there to cash those checks anyway, so the federal government can just pocket the money and use it to pay off our debt.”

“And our beloved seniors can just kiss their worries about prescription drug costs goodbye,” said Clinton. “Everybody knows that desolate wilderness areas are just teeming with as-yet-undiscovered herbal sources of miraculous cures, just like in that movie ‘Medicine Man’ where Sean Connery discovers a cure for cancer in the Amazon rainforest.”

“Wasn’t that the movie where he totally kills that dude by throwing a fan into the bathtub?” asked McCain. “That was awesome, how the shock from the fan just totally wastes that guy? Hot dog!”

“I think that’s a different movie, John,” said Clinton.

Response from seniors involved in the program has been largely positive.

“I used to lose a lot of sleep at night, worrying about what a drain my pension plan was on United Airlines’ ability to stay competitive in an increasingly globalized economy,” said 68-year-old retired airplane mechanic Russ Hengstrom, speaking from his new home, a muddy ditch at the foothills of the Romanzof Mountains. “It hardly seemed fair that the good folks at United should have to keep straining their finances just because of the forty-odd years I spent working there way back when.”

Hengstrom then paused to cough up a mass of bloody sputum before continuing.

“Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about losing sleep anymore. What with the chronic hypothermia I have, my untreated case of tuberculosis, the fact there’s no place to buy insulin, and all the blood loss I sustained after that bear ate my leg, I can barely maintain consciousness for more than twenty minutes at a time.”

Hengstrom was then impaled by a spear thrown by retired General Motors factory worker Nancy Clabbert, age 83, who was subsequently eaten alive by an endangered komodo dragon which had been relocated to the Wildlife Refuge in 2005 in order to make room for a new Wal-Mart in Papua New Guinea.

As he signed the McCain-Clinton bill into law this weekend, President Bush expressed great enthusiasm.

“For years, our old folks have been essentially prohibited from participating in the sort of free-market competition that has made this nation great,” said Bush. “This new law is an example of the great American tradition of taking useless stuff and using it for innovative and exciting purposes. I can only hope that child laborers and sweatshop workers in places like China and Sudan will look toward our American seniors as an example of the benefits that modernization has in store.”

“Also,” added Bush, “I’ve been advised to include the following words in my speech: honor, dependability, bravery, freedom, Sept. 11, and responsibility.”

Bush said that although some retirees might express resistance to being sent to ANSWR, he didn’t expect much trouble once today’s college students reach retirement age.

“Those kids don’t care about politics one way or the other,” he said. “As long as they’ve got the latest iPod, you can get them to go along with just about anything.”