Send Me a Man Who Reads

I love to read, and that includes the newspaper. In fact, I’m a person who actually enjoys—even savors—the newspaper. I don’t watch the news on television since I don’t care to have my news spoon-fed to me by someone who smiles insipidly and flirts with his or her anchor while talking about the latest bombing in the Middle East. Moreover, I don’t surf the Web to see what’s happening in the world since reading a computer screen makes my eyes do weird things after a while. I like to sit down, sip a cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette or two, and read the newspaper. I like the way it feels in my hands. I like the way the pages crackle and rustle when you turn them. I even like the smell of the newspaper—the unique potpourri of printers’ ink, whatever kind of paper they use (Heck, if I know), and, sometimes, the neighbor’s cat.

I begin with the front page, first scanning the headlines then reading the most timely and newsworthy articles in depth. Next I progress to the Metro section, catch up on the local news, and move on to the Business section, which often contains interesting articles about things like the sub-prime mortgage crisis, which stocks are actually making money (they’re never any I own); new gizmos in technology; and how some college student came up with an idea in his daddy’s garage, started a dot.com business, and became a billionaire. Following that, since I save the best for last, I read the People section, which includes Dr. Gott, my favorite physician (I wish we had more like him); Ann Landers, who always seems to offer such sage advice; Miss Manners, since I love her attitude; the comics (my favorites are Mother Goose and Grimm, Doonesbury, For Better or Worse, and Kathy); and an assortment of puzzles.

I love the puzzles. First, I complete Jumble, the scrambled word game; and all my years of playing Scrabble pay off since I can usually get the words with only a glance. Then I try to complete both crossword puzzles, and although I normally breeze right through the NEA puzzle, the LA Times puzzle gets progressively more difficult throughout the week, so that by Saturday, I’m lucky to fill in two or three blanks.

Back eons ago when I was young, there was a public-service announcement that ran on television. It simply said, “Send me a man who reads.” The problem today, however, is that most people don’t read. I occasionally have students who actually admit, “I’ve never read a book. I don’t read the paper. I don’t read magazines. I don’t like to read.” My response to them is, “You have my sympathy.”

P.S. I failed to mention the Sports section, well, because I don’t read the Sports section, that is, except during horseracing season simply because I love horses and not because I have a bookie.

Journal Comments

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