Diane Rohde

There's no denying it anymore: I'm getting to that point in my life where I should start thinking seriously about my retirement. I'll be living on a fixed income, so careful management of my assets will be crucial. That's why Dennis Hopper's television spots for Ameriprise Financial are so reassuring. Retirement planning means a lot of decision making, and thank God I have the soothing presence of that amyl nitrite–huffing, obscenity-screaming, psychosexual lunatic from Blue Velvet to guide me through it. 

I don't think I'm alone in saying that when I first saw Frank Booth dry hump, humiliate, and otherwise violently sexually assault Isabella Rossellini while calling her Mommy, I couldn't help but think stability, tranquility, and, most of all, security. The authoritative, crazed wheeze of this boozing, womanizing, rage-driven actor is a guiding light in the unpredictable, confusing world of investing.  


That's why I know I can trust Ameriprise. I'm sure that Dennis Hopper wouldn't represent a company that was anything other than a rock of respectability. When I hear him in those commercials, it's the familiar voice of a coke- dealing, LSD-fueled hippie cowboy biker putting me at ease.  

I can almost picture him now, right before he gets blown away by shotgun-toting rednecks and dies in flames in a ditch by the side of the road, reminding me that, sure, I have to retire someday, but my dreams never do. 


I think that the biggest mistake people make these days regarding investing is not getting all the information. Retirement planning can be tricky and there are a lot of factors involved. You have to provide for your own needs, as well as the needs of your family. Definitely not a decision to be taken lightly. It's one of those milestones in life where you say to yourself "I'd really like the town drunk from Hoosiers to weigh in on this one." 

Or the alcoholic, welfare-dependent dad from Rumble Fish

Or the gentleman who, in 1983, after having become completely addled by two decades of drugs and alcohol, tried to blow himself up with 20 sticks of dynamite rigged to a folding chair in the middle of a Houston speedway as a performance piece.  


That's the kind of sound, fiscally prudent mind I'm seeking when it comes to my future. 

In fact, the scowling face of unconscionable war criminal Victor Drazen from 24 is such a reassurring sight, I doubt other iconic countercultural media figures from the baby boom generation could fill his shoes. True, Jack Nicholson would definitely give Hopper a run for his money. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone my age who doesn't still have the occasional nightmare about his turn as an ax-wielding murderer in The Shining. I'm sure he could impart some valuable views about possible retirement investment opportunities. And let's not rule out Tim Curry. The murderous, cannibalistic alien transvestite from The Rocky Horror Picture Show would be more than up to the task of delivering sage counsel on Roth IRAs.  


But when it comes down to it, Hopper beats them all for reliability in building a sound financial future. It's pretty safe to say that anyone nearing retirement age would look back on that burned-out, hypomanic cult member who nonsensically sings the praises of the brutally homicidal and delusional Colonel Kurtz, and ask themselves the question, "How would that man plan for his retirement?" 

Because in the end, Dennis Hopper is more than just the one-eyed, filthy megalomaniac villain from Waterworld: He's a symbol of smart, responsible preparation for one's golden years. I mean, I certainly wouldn't take this type of advice from Wilford Brimley. Brimley? Gimme a break: Who's he ever killed in a psychopathic rage? 


To be fair, he did go nutso with a fire-ax after being driven temporarily insane with paranoia and panic by the shape-shifting alien killer in John Carpenter's The Thing. He does have that going for him. But he's essentially a stodgy old man who wears sweater vests and recommends oatmeal to children; he's not a screeching lunatic like Dennis Hopper with whom you'd like to sit down to map out a solid financial plan for the last decades of your life.

When it comes to these kinds of decisions, sometimes you just have to go with your gut.


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