Sunday, March 27, 2011

Extra! Extra!

I'm a newspaper subscriber.  I know, they say no one's buying papers anymore, or I suppose what's really said is that no one is reading papers anymore.  And, in spite of the fact that I get regular home delivery, I do sort of fall into that category.  I've admitted that I don't get the paper to stay up on events – current or otherwise – although, I do scan the headlines.  No, I get the paper for the puzzles.  Translation = big dork.  There, I've said it (once again).  Hey, I'm not the only one who does puzzles, you know.  It's people like me who make big business for others.  Think about it, where would Will Shortz be without all of us puzzlers?    


There are others, too, whose entire careers lie in creating brain-teasers for people like me – addicts, who are hooked on solving these mental conundrums.  I know I'm digressing but what non-puzzlers don't realize is that these things really do stimulate the brain, and if you do them like I do, over lunch, it helps to pace one's ingestion and, therefore, digestion.  If not for the puzzles, I'd eat my lunch in four minutes flat.  But anyway, as I said, I've digressed.


So, I've been getting home delivery for over seven years.  Every morning, no matter what time I'm up (as early as 4:30 in the summer) my paper is always there, in my driveway, waiting for me.  I have a very dependable carrier.  I've never met him, but we exchange Christmas cards every year.  Without fail, some time during the middle of December, folded within the newsprint, I find a greeting card wishing me all the best for the holiday season.  This enables me to reciprocate with yuletide wishes of my own along with a gesture of appreciation for his steadfast commitment. 


I assume my carrier is an elderly gentleman – possibly a retired veteran.  I say elderly because his name is Newton.  You just don't see that name that much anymore – at least not among the younger generation, that's for sure.  And I say retired vet because of his reliability and dedication to his customers.  I've already told you how my paper is always there, but it's also always tucked safely away in a plastic protective sleeve, and on the rare days we have rain, he double bags the paper.  This is no slouchy young person doing a half-assed job; no, this is someone who takes pride in his work. 


Now this is where I have an issue.  (You knew I had to have one.)  Lately, someone – a likely dog-walker, indeed – is taking the plastic bags off my paper (read: stealing).  I'm sure the perpetrator (correct word for alleged crime committer) doesn't think there's anything wrong with this.  In fact, I'd bet they just assume I discard the bags once I bring the paper inside.  And guess what?  They're right.  But that's not really the point, is it?


Newton places my paper in the protective – operative word here – bag for a reason.  To protect it.  Newsprint is already filthy.  Do I need road dust and grime all over my paper, too?  Or how about bird poop? That's always nice to see while the paper sits on my kitchen island – where I eat!  One day it drizzled and my paper was dotted with water marks.  And another time, on a breezy day, I had to retrieve wind strewn papers from my front yard.  Should I have to tolerate this?  No, I don't think so.  It's my paper – I'm paying for it – and it's my sleeve.  It should remain on the paper, protecting it, until such time when I remove it. 


As I said, I don't think the thief sees the crime, and I certainly don't mean to be petty, but it is my property.  I mean, how cheap can you be?  If you're a dog walker and you know you need to pick up poop, buy a box of bags already.


Well, I did just that.  I bought a box of quart-sized Ziploc bags and placed them in my driveway with a note taped to the top of the box that read: To whoever is taking my newspaper bags, please take this box of bags instead.  The box was never taken – it sat out there for over a week (risking an HOA violation).  But here's the thing, my newspaper bags have remained untouched ever since, and that is a good thing.


Ode to Dogwalkers


I don't mean to whine

But the paper is mine


And I don't like to squawk

But if you've a dog to walk


Who poops as he goes,

Then heaven knows


Prepared you must be –

Bring a bag or two, or even three


Because petty theft, I cannot condone

So, please, leave my paper alone!


Reporting it as it is…

~ M