I go grocery shopping every Sunday morning. And every Sunday morning at the grocery store, I buy a newspaper. And then, after getting home and putting the groceries away and eating breakfast, I sit participate in an ancient ritual: reading the Sunday paper while drinking coffee. It’s my Sunday “thing,” just as it was my parents’ “thing” and my grandparents’ “thing.”
It’s also a silly “thing,” because these days, there’s nothing in the newspaper that isn’t online. By the time the news is printed on Sunday, its old news. That’s not a knock against news reporters – they know how this all goes. Weekdays I listen to the local news every morning thanks to the TV, and then I listen online to world news later each day. But still, whenever Sunday rolls around, part of me looks forward to that moment with the news on paper and the coffee.
I probably look forward more to the coffee, but still. Coffee and newspapers just go together.
Part of it has to do with reading written news stories. It’s one thing to have a head spouting soundbites in ten minutes; it’s another to read a well-crafted, meaningful news story. That’s what I like – the writing and the stories they tell. Some reporters are better at it than others. You get to know the good ones over time and hope that the lesser ones improve. But everyone has an equal chance to flourish or fail in the newspaper.
If I don’t sound like an old person yet, just wait. Because I also clip coupons! Oh yes, I do! (But not to the XTREME.) You know those people who stand at the newspaper rack thumbing through each and every paper trying to find the “perfect” one? Well, that’s me…to a degree. I really don’t have the time to flip through paper after paper, but I do try to locate ones that have good caches of sale papers and coupons. Because after reading the paper, it’s coupon time. And it’s so much easier simply going through a small stack of colorful flyers with scissor than it is trying to locate coupons online. Plus, it’s a habit that helps wrangling my shopping ventures. And who doesn’t like saving money, besides?
Now, if you thought I was going to stop at coupons, you thought wrong, because then there the real…the one and only reason truly why I buy a newspaper every Sunday. It’s…
…the funny pages.
The Sunday comics.
Perhaps “wrapping paper,” if you so desire.
The funny pages are always the last thing I read, because they are the best.
Yes, yes…once again…there are millions of comics online. And I can easily find those that appear every Sunday there and in other forms. But for me, the Sunday comics are comfort. Yes, some of them are dumb and insipid, but a few are inspired – Pearls Before Swine and Get Fuzzy for sheer humor and farce; Foxtrot in its neverending nerdity; Baby Blues reminding me that it’s good I’m not a parent; Mutts for it’s kindheartedness. Reading jokes in colored squares, sometimes great and sometimes not, makes my Sunday feel complete. Like a really great dessert after a pleasing meal.
Every now and again I consider ending my newspaper weirdness. First, the price of the Sunday paper recently went up to $2 in our region; [FUDDY DUDDY ALERT!] it remains a hard price to accept after paying $1 for so many years. Second, all papers are not created equal. Some weeks, the paper is robust and brimming with interest. Other weeks, the paper is a thin as…as…uh…something that’s really thin! (I’ll get back to you when I come up with a good metaphor. i.e. never) And third, I could honestly being doing anything more productive during that Sunday morning hour I spend with the paper and coffee. Relaxing is all well and good, but I’ve got lots of shit to do. There have been moments where the paper has felt like a waste of time.
Until I figure things out, I’ll still get a newspaper every Sunday. Old habits are hard to break, and the newspaper is definitely an old habit. And, it’s an old profession (journalism, that is); one that I’d like to see continue well into the future. My weekly $2 won’t save the news, but at least I can say that I helped in the rescue efforts.
Next up in old habits…Coffee. In a word: overmydeadbodynowwouldyousokindlygetthefuckawayfrommyfuckingcoffee.