Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Essential Sunday Paper

Ever shrinking as it is I’m not sure I could go on without it. The certainty of it just being there, waiting at my door, heedless of storms, in its all-weather wrap affirms my existence. It’s the habit of its heft, how it re-orders the amorphous days of the week into a proper stanza.

Not for the news within; the Sunday paper is mostly for sorting. The ritual goes like this: One stack to be discarded, the other to be read or glanced at. As if I am sorting out my life I define myself by what I no longer want or need.

In the trash heap goes just about everything on slick, colored paper; reams of ads for electronics, appliances and clothing. I’m done with all that. My acquisitive hunger has been satiated or so I’d like to believe. As for marketing with coupons my time is too valuable. I could be thinking great thoughts instead or saving my fingers for typing blogs rather than scissoring.

I’m not smart enough for the Comics. I only have patience for Doonesbury. All the rest I somehow feel I can live my remaining days without. I know I must be missing a lot but the lives in the first section are comical enough.

Into that stack I also throw the Real Estate section, auto sales and classified. I’ve bought my last house, my last car, answered my last call for a job. What a relief. It’s worth whatever I’m paying for the subscription. The act of physically separating what hardly matters from what doesn’t matter at all is a satisfaction you don’t get on-line. By late morning I am granted the illusion that my life is in order.

I’m also ready to concede the Travel Section. There are many places in which I’d like to be but not to go. Far away places seem further and further away as the section gets smaller and smaller.

I may glance at the Financial section as I lay it on top of the pile. The advantage of meager assets is the relief from making yet more foolish decisions. As long as Dow is still talking to Jones I’m OK.

The Image section is another one that has passed me by. All the pretty faces but not for me. Who are these people? I‘m still loyal to Ava Gardner.

This leaves me with the unrelenting dirge of national and world news and the un-even op-ed. Local outrages and obits are worthy of a few minutes, the Calendar section gets diminishing attention. Arts & Letters speak to me most compellingly and then there is the Sports section, an infantilism I hope to never outgrow.

Pared down to these few pages I’m all the lighter for it. In time I’ll shed it all, buoyant with my encyclopedic unknowing, that great mystery unfit for print.

1 comment:

  1. It's been a couple years since I've looked at a Sunday paper, but when I did, I remember having a similar ritual. The ads went first. Then the comics. I enjoyed your post.