Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Newspaper: Either You Get It or You Don't.


Every morning at 6:15 go out to pick up my Bag O’ News from the end of my driveway.

It waits for me and I go to it a eagerly—a human bear just awaking from my mini-hibernation, hungry for my fish in its plastic blue bag delivered to me by some unseen benevolent zoo keeper. I grab it and return to my den to devour it in peace.

This ritual is a part of my day and on those rare occasions when the paper is not there, I stop short, confused, discombobulated. I look all around, under cars, in the bushes and then just sort of stand there, unsure of what to do next.

I am not alone in this behavior. Most people on our street take the paper and on the mornings when the paper does not come the other bears stand at the end of their driveways and we stare at one another and make our confused, early morning bear sounds.

When I was growing up I never thought I would be a paper reader. It used to drive me crazy the way my parents would sit in their chairs and read the paper, cover to cover. I used to roll my eyes and scream a silent scream. BORING!

Now, however, I am the bear at the end of my driveway picking up my daily fish. While some of our neighbors get the LA Times, I can’t handle that kind of big paper commitment, so I go for the smaller local county paper. It’s a combination of real paper (elections, wars, zoning commission reports) and funky hometown news (girl paints shoes for Iranian children, head lice infestations up in local schools.)


As I mentioned earlier, I read the paper first thing in the morning in bed and because I am Betty, you’d better believe there is order and structure to the whole process.

Number One: I pull out Sports Section and place beside me for Mabel to rest on. She loves a fresh paper and especially enjoys sprawling her extra large body across pictures of silly humans chasing assorted balls.

Then I proceed in this order:

A. Front Page/Section

B. National News/World News (skim this part)

C. County News

D. Arts and Living (intense reading of this part)


Yes, there are rules and schedules even within these sections. I won’t go into each one except to say that I once read Annie’s Mailbox BEFORE Dr. Gott and it pretty much rocked my world, so I don’t play loose and fast with the rituals any more.

Surprising Fact: I read only one comic strip—“Zits.”

Also, I always read the horoscope, which rates our days from 1 to 5 stars, and if it’s 4 or 5 star day, I announce it to HOB. If mine is a very low star day I go with the “I-was-born-on-the-cusp” defense and travel on to the next sign.


Alas, I am the only newspaper reader in my family and when it’s time to check movie times I sprint in to get the page with the schedule, hoping to beat the others who are tapping away on their I-Touches, cell phones and computers. I feel the need to show them that the black, white and “read all over” page still has a place in the world even if it’s just to search for that tiny box on Page 1, Section C.

I know the newspaper is on the endangered species list. I’ve read about the elimination of several major newspapers. It makes me sad to think that someday my own little town’s paper may have to fold. I would miss it, and the daily routine that starts off my day with a trip out into the world, rain or shine, Monday through Sunday.

Oh! Sunday!

That’s when I get an extra big fish I get to carry in and feast upon. That one has slick, colorful coupon entrails as well!

Yum.

Wishing you all five star days!


54 comments:

Joe Cap said...

Great post! I love my morning paper too, it is a ritual.
I read my favorite sections while doing my morning constitutional.
I love that Zits strip as well, I can so relate to the teen kid thing.

Mr. Stupid said...

I loved reading my morning paper too. I read it while having breakfast. I always got late due to the Sports Section and the Crossword Puzzle.
I don't read much news now. I just watch them on TV sometimes.

Dave King said...

I love reading the morning paper, too. I do it over breakfast and later, over coffee, but it's not usually as good as that - reading your post!

sarahjayne smythe said...

There is just something so very cool about sitting with a morning cup of coffee reading the paper. It's one of the simple things in life.

Tabor said...

You have captured a part of the Western culture that may be dying. We only got the Sunday paper and I used to read it the exact same way...minus the cat, I am allergic to cats.

baygirl32 said...

Have to agree, I much prefer the local news (especially when I go to visit my folks in a community of 1200 people; imagine the headlines... baygirl visitis parents, not home 1 hour and already broke the oven)

What about the puzzles? do you do the puzzles?

Madi and Mom said...

BB Great post...you have the most creative mind!!! OH my CATS were were happy to see Mabel please tell her she is beautiful and I, Madi, like to read via osmosis too.

Madi

Brian Miller said...

smiles. we take the paper on sunday...growing up though it was a ritual for my parents, still is...i hate that it is endangered mainly b/c then i wonder what is next...

Mamma has spoken said...

I read the daily paper too. I sit at the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee and read two of the three sections (I don't even open the sports section), leaving the comics for last. I will read most of the comics, especially the Dinette Set. Mainly because I DO know people like them.

Momma Fargo said...

Wonderful post! Our paper never has anything worth reading in it. LOL.

The Empress said...

I remember the sweet days of the morning paper, when I was first home with our first. I'd hold him, he'd nurse, and I'd read the paper.
Such sweet memories.

Ally said...

The morning paper. We get all of our news online and from broadcast nightly news. BUT, as a kid the scent of the newspaper, bagels and coffee was one I will never forget. We would all take a section... Oh I totally am going to blog about this and link back to you, Betty! Thanks for jogging my memory without even intending to!

Georgina Dollface said...

I'm a newspaper fan too. I love reading it leisurely on the weekends, but have to wait until I get home on weekdays. Sometimes our paper gets pinched from the the lobby and this infuriates me to no end. It clearly has our suite # on it. so whoever is stealing it knows that it is not a free paper.
When I go on vacation, I love reading the local newspaper, just to see how our neighbours to the south (most of you) see the world. While our papers always talk about the US, your papers rarely mention anything about Canada unless it is big like the G8/G20 meeting or the Olympics. Fascinating!- G

Old Kitty said...

What a great hoozaaah for the printer newspaper!!! Hoozzaaah! I say again!!! :-) And more hoozzzaaaah for all you lovely bears!!!

I used to get my favourite paper (The Guardian) daily - these days I only take the Saturday edition - it is a weekend paper so it is nice and big and unwieldy and bulky and I love it!!! I wouldn't have it any other way!!!

I hope these big newspaper magnates see sense and do not go the electronic way completely. There really is nothing like curling up on a favourite chair or laying in bed with your favourite kitty (That's a LOVELY pic of Mabel btw!!!) and perusing the page, hearing their crinkle and crackle, folding each page behind as a title grabs your attention and you just have to read on!!

Thank you for this wonderful post!! I hope you continue to fight the good bear fight in your household!!!

:-)
Take care
x

Parsley said...

I do without our local paper. It costs too much for only 4 pages...and that includes ads!

blueviolet said...

I only like to read the paper when I'm the first one to read it. Once it's been opened and separated and wrinkly crinkled, I'm no longer interested. Also, if it ever goes into a bathroom with anyone, it's immediately considered trash.

liz said...

I totally identify with your comment about reading the paper and people who do. I always think of my parents and grandparents as regular paper readers. But I think it's changing now purely due to the internet. I don't know if craig and I will ever be paper readers. Glad Mabel's happy. :)

Talli Roland said...

Aren't Sunday papers the best?! I am spoiled for choice in London - and they are MASSIVE on Sundays! My fav is The Guardian, followed by the Sunday Times.

Betty said...

I would love to have a morning paper on my steps. Alas we only get the paper a day late, and we have to buy it at the post office... :(
Yes we live in the boonies!

Aging Mommy said...

Wonderful post - I am picturing your entire neighborhood in their dressing gowns and slippers at the top of your driveways waiting for your "fish." I used to love reading the newspaper and Sundays were always about the Sunday papers with coffee and croissant. But alas I no longer read any paper - I hope one day I will have time to do so again and that when I do there are still newspapers to be bought. For me somehow reading the news on a computer screen does not hold the same appeal at all.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Sorry to say ours has dwindled to a mere few pages of drivel, written by idiots. I still hang in there with it, but not sure why. My big thing was always to make sure I was the first to get my hands on it. I can't stand when the pages get out of whack. It has to be neat and tidy, unlike my life, or I can't concentrate. AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE... DON'T DARE FOLD THE CROSSWORD PAGE ALL COCKEYED!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

As a freelance journalist, I LOVE that you read the paper...but as a former stringer for the L.A. Times, I must admit to being a little miffed with you...
LOL...
Nevertheless, I will
overlook your negligence...and give you credit not only for a brilliant metaphor, but also for supporting the print media by subscribing to your local paper! Wonderful post, Betty!!! Loved it! Love, Janine XO

faye said...

Living in redneck world ,
we refer to the local paper
as the MULLET WRAPPER..

Before my computer days, I was
an avid crossword puzzle fan.
Had to have my daily fix.
Not so much anymore.

Writing Without Periods! said...

I swear to Budda my husband was born with a newspaper in his hands. He reads it in the morning; I read it at night. Love your post today.
Mary

Feeling Just Right said...

Mabel looks perfect on that Sports section. The day yours doesn't come in, I'll send you mine.

I like how cute you sound in this post. I like your routine. I like that you are such a true fan!

Ann said...

We used to have the paper delivered but it got to the point where during the week I just couldn't find time to look at it. Sunday's paper was always my favorite though. I had a similar routine for going through it.

Christina Lee said...

yeah for small local papers. I write a weekly column for my hometown one (a shopping column) and we have gone through some cuts, but by and large I think they will stick around!

Together We Save said...

No daily paper here. I really miss it!

ethelmaepotter! said...

I was born into a newspaper family - my father began his career as a photographer for his small town news, then eventually moved up to editor for a major town. To this day, my parents still take the daily (Nashville) Tennessean, The Portland (Tennessee) Times, The Tallassee (Alabama) Tribune, and the Sunday New York Times.

I subscribe to three papers, myself. We get the weekend Tennessean, the weekly Ashland City Times and the weekly I-24 Exchange (the Pleasant View (Tennessee) news. My husband reads more of the Tennessean than do I, we get the Ashland City Times primarily to help keep them business, (though it usually ends up in the backseat of my car, rarely opened,) but I do love our little local paper - the editor is also the Mayor!

Pat said...

I get the papered delivered when we stay put for 5 months in AZ for the winter. That's nice. Otherwise, no paper. :(

But I, too, have a ritual to reading it.I pull out the classifieds and sports and put the aside, then breeze through the first section, then national news, and then front to back of arts and living! I take a stab at the crossword puzzles, too!

KLZ said...

I always feel bad seeing the paper delivery woman scurrying into our high rise to drop off all those papers. Perhaps because she is afraid of so many bears in such a tight space.

Grace said...

Absolutely - must have the papers first thing in the morning! I go for the Style/Entertainment/Comics section(s) first.

Aut said...

Yes, keep supporting that endangered species of print! I read regularly too, but I must admit that as I'm currently hanging out in a town of 500, the paper is 8 pages and comes out once a week...

Ann Best said...

I'm sorry to see the great paper newspapers fading away. Too many people reading the news online, I suppose. I loved the newspaper when I was growing up (this was the Forties and Fifties; yes, I'm that old). I loved the comics. Well, some of them weren't comical. There was one I can't remember that was more like an old-fashioned soap opera. I stopped reading it, I was so mad when the artist killed off the woman I really liked.

Gigi said...

Betty? Are we twins? Cause seriously? I could have written this (except for the reading it in bed part) including the proper order of reading the paper!

Loved the comparison to bears! Guess what I will be thinking of now every time I make that trek down the driveway?

slommler said...

I don't read the paper anymore. Got out of the habit and just never picked it back up! But I am glad that you enjoy it.
Hugs
SueAnn

The Retired One said...

I can so relate....except here, we get the paper around 3pm...so it must be read after dinner and the national news on TV...I read the front page right on thru to the last pages (skipping the sports). I read the advice columns, the comics, the horoscope too....and the want ads...what is for sale, and the legals for who is losing their homes..and the court reports and local police reports too....I'd hate to have it all on line....there is something about holding it in your hands and yes, cutting out the coupons, too.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have something to do with the Sports section at last. My big boned kitty will be pleased, and I will be able to read more peacefully perhaps.

Katie's Dailies said...

I'm ashamed to say that I am not a newspaper reader. I have tried on COUNTLESS occasions to read it, subscribing to our local one, but now that it merged into the state wide newspaper, it's just too much to handle.

Can we still be friends? : )

Sarah said...

Papers in my childhood had a whole page dedicated to writers and writers wannabes. It was the most fulfilling part of the paper. I read google news nowadays.

Tgoette said...

I can totally relate to your enjoyment of the newspaper. I don't subscribe anymore, but whenever I find one in a waiting room or coffee shop I pounce on it and read it cover to cover.

Great post, Betty!

Powdered Toast Man said...

I was imagining you and your neighbors growling like bears with confused looks on your faces. Priceless, hahaha

Lin said...

Isn't it funny how you have a routine to the paper reading?? I do too!! And oh, god help the soul that sorts that paper before I do! Do you read the obits though?? It's in the line-up for me--right before the arts section and right after Letters to the Editor.

I love getting the paper on weekends.

Theresa Milstein said...

Nice tribute to the newspaper.

When I was a kid, I used to read the comics, Ann Landers and Dear Abby, and then the movie section. As I got older, I ventured to other parts of the paper.

Marlene said...

I love the word "discombobulated". :)

I used to read the paper every day....and then I moved here, to the U.S., where I knew no one...and the regional section meant nothing to me because there was no juicy gossip about anyone I might know.

Poop.

(When I did used to read the paper, I also used to remove the sports section for my kitty to lay on, too......what else is it good for?)

Daisy said...

Only one comic strip? Well, that can't be right! :D

I like to read the paper too, but I am often behind at getting it done. I also only read certain parts and in a certain order.

Pat Tillett said...

My paper is also a ritual.
wake up
walk downstairs
go get paper
take out sports page
read it while (i won't go there)
make coffee
do crossword while drinking coffee
throw the rest in recycle bin
I just this moment discovered that I don't really need the newspaper
thanks Betty...

Julie said...

Ah...we only get the Sunday paper. I'm afraid we fall into the category with the rest of your family members. We are such "paper traitors!"

Lourie said...

I don't take the paper, but whenever we go out to breakfast I buy one. Like it's some sort of weird ritual with me. LOL.

Ca88andra said...

We get the daily papers at work so I read them at lunch time. On the weekends I read the papers online. Tragic I know!

Hilary said...

I think you need to submit this to your local paper. You'll boost their readership for sure. Clever, witty and so entertaining.

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

I loved reading my newspaper too.I read it while having breakfast.
I don't read much news now. I just watch them on TV.
~B xx

CRAZYMOM said...

Isn't it funny how we have rules? I am not at all a type A person, but my bed is a sacred place in my house, so rule number one for me would be no newspaper allowed on the bed. I can't take a chance that the ink will smudge my perfectly pressed white sheets. However, rule number two gives the cat a full pass. I realize this may not make much sense, but as you said, messing with the rules could cause a major upheaval in my mental well-being! LOL have a great day, Betty. Enjoy your fish. :)

Happy Homemaker said...

Holy Cow, Betty! Look at how many of your fans commented on this one. So many newspaper readers out there. I'm just writing to tell you that I LOVE the picture of Zelda on the sports page! FAB PHOTO! And, yes, the piece was, as usual, wonderful!