I’m Not Dead Yet

When you reach my age (83) and don’t hear from friends for a long time, you don’t assume they’re just too busy to get in touch. You wonder if they’ve died.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who is sometimes unsure who’s still alive and who isn’t.

The other day I received a check from the company that provides my long-term-care insurance. The check was for almost $1,000.

A windfall! But not so fast. The accompanying, very short letter said that my insurer was sending the money “as per your request.” I hadn’t made any request.

I called the company and negotiated a phone maze that included every choice imaginable except “mystery check.” When I finally got a human being on the phone, she explained that if a customer dies and has already paid the premium for the following year, the insurer refunds part of it.

“But I’m not dead,” I objected. She should have been able to figure that out since I was talking to her on the phone.

“Aren’t you Beth Davis?” she asked.

It turns out that Beth Davis died, but her policy is still alive while mine has been terminated.

The woman promised to get that straightened out.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, “Reports of my death were grossly exaggerated.”

Flora Davis has written scores of magazine articles and is the author of five nonfiction books, including the award-winning Moving the Mountain: The Women’s Movement in America Since 1960 (1991, 1999). She currently lives in a retirement community and continues to work as a writer.