Friday, October 06, 2017


Many years ago, living in Brooklyn, Dad had a habit. Every workday, he would give me a nickel and send me off to Sam's Candy Store on the corner of Stone Avenue and Hull Street. On the outside of the store was a bench with a pile of different newspapers that one could purchase and hand off the money to Sam or his wife who stood by the open window that overlooked the bench.

You could purchase the NY Daily News, The NY Mirror, the NY Times, the Herald Tribune and the NY Post, along with the NY Journal American and Brooklyn Eagle. Amazingly, that was the daily output of news for the general public to choose from. There were morning and afternoon editions and some ‘Night owl' editions also.

The News, Mirror, and the Times all had affiliations to the three baseball teams that populated NYC, the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, and New York Yankees. The Daily News was a Brooklyn Dodgers newspaper with Dick Young as the primary sports columnist, along with the syndicated columnist, Ed Sullivan and his ‘Toast of the Town'. Not only did the News have the best sports section, it also carried the best comics. The ‘Mirror' was just that, a lame attempt at being the Daily News, mirroring things including the tabloid format. The hurdy-turdy Times on the other hand, with its fancy logotype and statement: "All the news that's fit to print" was made to make you dig through different sections to find the sports section, and had no comics! Can you imagine, a newspaper with NO comics! It might as well have been the Wall Street Journal or the future Financial Times.

At the kitchen table every morning, Dad would light a cigarette, and with a cup of coffee, read the Daily News from the back page forward, starting with the sports that were the back-page headline. Mimicking Dad, so I learned to do that with the same newspaper.

As I became an adult, I continued to read the Daily News to this day, and I think of Dad when I do. We can be at war, but did the Mets win last night?

As a result of my loyalty to the paper, I now have it home-delivered. I also have Newsday delivered, but it is not as colorful as the News. Being in college and in the creative field, the newspaper of choice should be the NY Times. I find it an anti-blue collar, a snub to my Dad. I tried reading it on the train going to work in the morning, but the articles were a mile long, overworked and giving me both a headache and ink marred hands and fingers.

One morning this week I didn't get my Daily News. This, of course, sets me off in an unhappy state.

OK, one delivery is no big deal. The next morning, no newspaper again! This is too much, NOW it is a big deal, and they shall hear from me so help me God! I begin by complaining to the Little Woman (TLW) who listens patiently and gives me her phone book with the newspaper's number in it.
I will fire those bastards, no tips for that sob delivery guy, and I'm not paying for the missed dates. I will fire them! I practice in my mind how that will go on the phone with the newspaper. My indignation is complete and well-honed. THERE IS NOTHING MORE THEY CAN DO!

I call, there is a robotic voice, probably hired away from the DMV, that informs me: "Do you have a problem with your delivery today only, delivery yesterday only, your account or something else?" There is nothing for today and yesterday! I say: "YESTERDAY!" My angry voice will let them know how pissed-off I am. I wait, there is a reply to my strong answer: We're sorry, your call is important to us, please stay on the line for the next available agent. Someone will be with you shortly. Then… "Normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM." The son-of-a-bitches, it's only 7:30 AM! I have to call back, and go through the same process all over again!

Undeterred, filled with anger and venom, intent on giving the severest dressing down under no uncertain terms, ready to fire them, I get the same crapola and a wait when I call again at 8:05 AM: "We're sorry, your call IS important to us, please stay on the line for the next available agent. Someone will be with you shortly.

My swearing is now at a crescendo, highlighted by Italian curses my Daddy taught me at his knee when suddenly a voice breaks in. A nice, friendly voice, the kind you shouldn't yell at.

"Good morning, Daily News, how may I help you?"

"Why, uh, you… didn't deliver my newspaper yesterday or today!"

"May I have your phone number and address, please?"

I give them my phone number and address as asked and the voice at the other end attempts to pronounce my name. Usually, if it is mispronounced, I give them the correct pronunciation rather coldly, but for some reason, I am polite in this case.

"We will have newspaper out to your home shortly and we will credit your account for the failed delivery yesterday. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"No thank you, have a good day."

Well, I guess I told them off.

That night TLW comes home.

"How did it go today?"


"You fired the Daily News?"

"Those sob's, they had me holding on the line putting me through all kinds of waiting time and questions…"

"Somehow, I feel like I lived this already.



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