September 19, 2019

The Sunday Paper

Ahhhh, Sunday. The day of rest. The day of relaxation. The day of exhaustion. From the newspaper.

Let’s hear it for the Sunday paper. An institution that’s as American as apple pie and baseball. Sunday just wouldn’t be Sunday without a hearty breakfast and the Sunday paper. It offers stimulation for the mind, delight for the eyes, tantalizing recipes for the home cook and aerobic exercise for the lucky family member whose job it is to go out to the street to retrieve it. In our house that’s me. All efforts to get my wife or my cat, Buckshot, to go out to get the paper have fallen on deaf ears. No amount of pleading or cajoling has had any effect.

Not that I mind, of course. I know that the daily jaunt out to get the paper is a vital part of my healthy daily routine. It’s just that Sunday is sometimes a bit of a challenge. There seems to be some sort of Holy Grail of the newspaper business that says whoever makes the thickest and heaviest Sunday paper wins the grand prize. That’s fine for all those lucky folks who have their paper plopped right on the front porch, but some of us aren’t quite so lucky. At my house the paper must be retrieved from the tube out by the street and brought back to the house.

Most of the time this is not a major problem. A few super high potency energy drinks and ten minutes on the oxygen tank are usually sufficient to prepare me for the ordeal. But, if it’s anywhere near a major holiday, all bets are off.  Last year, the Sunday paper just before Arbor Day was so massive I had to take the wheelbarrow out to get it.

Christmas? Fugeddaboudit! It took me a long time to figure it out but now I just contract with our local road-building contractor to come up to the house every Sunday in December and bring in the paper with one of his backhoes. It’s worth the extra expense just to avoid all those trips to the chiropractor’s office.

Once the paper is inside and threatening to break the back of the breakfast table, it’s time for what my wife calls “peeling.” This process consists of going through thee paper and separating the various sections into stacks by category. The categories include, but are not limited to: News, Sports, Lifestyle (including weddings, cooking, decorating, and travel), Books and book reviews, Editorials and opinion pieces, Magazine section and Advertising.

Advertising is subdivided into Furniture, New cars, Used cars, Pharmacy, Mega Mart, Pharmacy, Food stores, Pharmacy, Pets and pet accessories, Pharmacy, Consumer electronics, Pharmacy, Cell phones and Pharmacy.

Pharmacy is by far the most prolific. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but where I live it’s possible to outfit an entire household plus an Antarctic expedition with a single visit to a single pharmacy. When I was a kid, we went to the “drug store” to get aspirin, prescriptions, greeting cards and ice cream sodas. Today, you can walk into your friendly neighborhood pharmacy and buy memory for your computer, lawn furniture, Cheerios, vodka, ten thousand shades of facial blush, cat litter, diesel generators, elephant cleaning tools, surveying equipment, jet engine repair parts, forestry textbooks, bulldozer accessories and nautical charts of the Cayman Islands. If you’re lucky you might even be able to locate some aspirin. Forget about the ice cream soda. People who worry about such things have calculated that Sunday newspaper advertising by pharmacies is responsible for seventy-five percent of our country’s current deforestation crisis. But I digress.

Once my wife has the paper properly peeled and stacked in categories, it’s time to sit down and read. Of course by this time breakfast is little more than a greasy mess on a cold plate and the coffee has begun to develop a thin rim of ice, but at least we’ll be well informed.
The next three hours are consumed with reading, shouting (at the editorial page), fighting with the cat for the next section to read, and moving the pharmacy ads out of my way. By the time this ordeal is over, it’s time for a serious nap.

Here again, the Sunday paper makes its contribution. As I lean back in my recliner and let my eyes drift slowly closed, the paper settles across my chest and lap to gently cover me and keep me warm for my sacred Sunday nappy time. If it hadn’t been for the paper and all the effort required to haul it in the house and wade through it, I wouldn’t need the nap.

But then life doesn’t always make sense, does it?

See ya around,

Buck

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