My Buggywhip Business Seems to be in a Spot of Trouble

July 5th, 2021

My wife, She Who Must Be Taunted, and I have been doing some spring cleaning and rearranging, and the other day I took the opportunity to organize my music closet. And, of course, like every one of my songwriting colleagues, I have a backlog of duplicated CDs which, let’s say, have yet to find their way into the the hands of their intended owners. Of course, most of them were duplicated back in the day when CDs were a Thing, rather than just another thing, but it’s still the fruit of my musical loins, and besides, CDs are a bitch to recycle. 

Which brings me to my morning paper.

I still subscribe to the dead tree edition of the Boston Globe. I like spreading out the newspaper under my breakfast cereal, reading the comics through the milk stains. If someone were to manufacture a digital broadsheet which could get milk stains, I’d probably download the morning paper into it every morning and never look back. But without that, it’s dead trees for me. However, the Boston Globe delivery service has been, as of late, something close to abysmal (in spite of amounting to three-quarters of my subscription cost), and I strongly suspect it’s because they want to be done with me. Ironically, just about every week the carrier includes an envelope for a tip for the carrier, but when, for instance, I get a Sunday Globe which is actually half Globe and half the hated New York Times, the service isn’t exactly tip-worthy, unless the tip is “deliver more than half the newspaper”.

So I expect that eventually, the Globe will resort to guerrilla tactics to try to get rid of us. Every day, there will be something wrong with it:

  • We’ll get the Lithuanian edition on Monday.
  • Tuesday the sports section will be printed backwards, so I have to read it in the mirror.
  • Wednesday, it’ll be soaking wet, even on days it hasn’t rained.
  • Thursday, we’ll get every other page.
  • Friday, we’ll get the missing pages from Thursday, but nothing else.
  • Saturday, we’ll get just the obituaries, with our own obituary published, as a hint.
  • And Sunday, we’ll get an actual newspaper, and then the editor will show up when I’m in the middle of the sports section and say there was a production error and take it away “for repairs”. Oh, and he’ll leave an envelope for a tip for the carrier.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t really blame our delivery issues on the carrier. I’m sure he, she, they or it (might be a drone by now) is/are doing the best job possible under the circumstances, which probably have them responsible for a paper route that starts in Winthrop and ends in Melrose, every morning, starting at 3 AM. But I want my paper. I want my landline (because we invented telephony and then, 150 years later, decided it would be OK if it sucked a lot more). I want my printed books, and my ticket stubs, and copies of movies and music I actually own. I get that the world does not value these things. But I do. Which is why, I suppose, the Globe has decided that I have to die.

So if I vanish sometime in the near future – if you call me on my landline and I don’t answer, or if you send me a letter to which you do not get a response, or if you send me a telegram and never hear back – maybe you should call the Globe and ask them what they did with me. I’m sure their customer service specialists will be able to help. Although I’m now learning that they’ll tell you that the reason you never got an answer to your telegram is that Western Union sent its last telegram in 2006. Sic transit gloria mundi, as they say. In a language that’s been dead for thousands of years.

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