Beloved comedian Will Rogers used to begin his act by saying,
“All I know is what I read in the papers.” He’d then do some
blistering one-liners based on that day’s headlines.
For most of us the newspaper is a rigid part of our daily
agenda. We read it with coffee in the morning. Some page through it
while commuting to work. A few lug it to work with them and read
through it at the desk before the day’s tasks begin.
Arizona has many fine journals. Fittingly, many of them have the
word “Sun” in their titles. There’s the Yuma Sun, the
Wickenburg Sun, the Green Valley News and Sun, the
San Pedro Valley News-Sun, Flagstaff has the Arizona
Daily Sun, and there’s also Yuma’s Bajo El Sol,
which, because of my extensive education and linguistic skills, I
know is French for sun.
Some newspaper names reflect a trait of their hometowns, like
the Kingman Daily Miner, the Camp Verde Bugle,
the Sedona Red Rock News, and I suppose, Humboldt’s
Big Bug News.
They’re all fine papers, but they still annoy me. Not because of
their content or their editorial policies, but simply because
newspapers—any newspapers—have a way of personally annoying me.
The massive Sunday papers are the biggest offender. I like to
read through the trivia contained in the Sunday supplement. You
know, that magazine-like 16 or so pages that’s usually part of any
Sunday paper. It’s quick, light reading, and I enjoy glancing
through that first. However, I can never find the blasted thing.
It’s always hidden among a series of multi-page ads that are
disguised to look like the Sunday magazine supplement.
I think I’ve got it, but no. I’ve got pages and pages of ads for
computers, printers, televisions, and the like. Is this it? No.
This is a full-color booklet for golf clubs, treadmills, and
athletic shoes. I go through these voluminous look-alikes and, many
Sundays, never find it. I can only read it after my wife goes
through the paper and hands the supplement to me. It was obviously
there all the time, but it was hiding from me.
My spouse is the source of another of my newspaper peeves. We
both read our paper in the morning, so we select different
sections. My wife heads right for the front page. I get the sports
section because there is nothing in the sports section that
interests my wife. There is nothing in the sports section that
interests me, either, but I read through because for men, that’s
So while I’m pretending to be fascinated by something or other
written about the sports world, my wife will say, “Listen to this.”
So I listen to it. She reads excerpts from whatever column she’s
reading about world affairs.
I nod my head and then go back to finding out why so-and-so is
unhappy with his $70 million dollar contract to catch a ball. Then
my spouse will say, “Do you believe this?” and she’ll read more
about some current event.
By the time I get the front page, it’s old news.
Also, my wife loves to do the daily crossword puzzle. I hate
crossword puzzles. But my wife will invariably say to me, “Who was
a famous hockey player? His first name might begin with an ‘M’ or a
‘B.’” I say, “Bobby Orr.” She says, “It doesn’t fit.” I say, “Brett
Hull.” She says, “It doesn’t fit.” I say, “Maurice Richard.” She
says, “It doesn’t fit.” I say, “Write smaller.”
She goes on to other clues in the puzzle and I’m left thinking
about nothing but famous hockey players for the rest of the day.
There’s another thing that bothers me about the paper. Certain
pages often stick together. I try to separate them with my thumb,
but they don’t want to divorce. I try to go up to the corner to
find something I can grab to pull them apart. No way. They are
together and they insist on remaining together.
Me? I’m determined to get them apart. I fight, I struggle, I
curse. Finally, I get them separated, open the pages, and
invariably find a full-page advertisement for some department
store. I could have done without those pages. However, if I hadn’t
opened them, I would never know that.
Sometimes, too, I fight to get those pages apart only to find
when I glance at the page numbers, that I’m trying to separate page
5 from page 6. It’s only one page, but I’m trying to force them
open as if they were two.
This may seem like my mistake, but it’s not. The newspaper
publishers purposely print some pages so that they’ll feel like
two, just to make me look incompetent for trying to separate them.
It’s an insidious plot against me. It’s personal.
So, like Will Rogers, all I know is what I read in the papers.
And I do read them, or have my wife read them to me whether I like
it or not. Someday I’ll learn to read them well and wisely, but
until then, they’ll continue to annoy me.