Sunday, April 15, 2007
Daddy and the Times
Overheard in a diner on a Sunday morning. "The magazine section is missing."
My thought: "Didn't your father teach you how to count your sections before buying the Sunday Times?"
When I was a kid, my dad would go out, late, every Saturday night to pick up the early edition of the Sunday New York Times. As teenagers, my siblings or I would sometimes go along for the ride. That is where we learned the important lesson of how to check the sections.
The Sunday New York Times has a huge number of sections and the true connoisseur, at the very least, glances at them all. Therefore you must make certain that you get all of the sections at the point of purchase. That, and why pay for missing sections, even if you don't read them?
So, we learned to count the sections, in our heads. The ritual requires being able to keep track of the section numbers as they appear even though they are out of sequence in the pack.
You start, by looking at the top section (not always the main, or "1") and quickly flipping through them all, keeping a verbal or mental count. "3, 4, 8, 10," then "1, 3, 4, magazine (6), 8, 9, 10, 11" then "1, 2, 3, 4, damn where's the travel section?, magazine, book review, 8, 9, 10, 11, oh, there it is! Done. (During the holiday season there are more sections and specials are periodically added as needed.)
Then we went home, the child in question made tea for daddy and we settled in for the night as daddy started in on the puzzle.
Sadly, we no longer perform the ritual as we get the paper delivered. And so another skill is lost to the next generation.
Who would think that a simple overheard comment could turn in to a trip down memory lane?