It started off nice enough; clear, sunny skies with temperatures in the upper forties as I strolled across the front yard out to the mailbox. The birds were singing and the squirrels chattering at me as I reached into the weathered paper tube. Then in an instant, the sun’s light dimmed and large cracks appeared in the earth’s surface! There was no paper! “Noooooooo,” I cried as my hand thrashed all the way to the back of the tube as I was still in denial. But alas, it was true, either the paper was not delivered or some dastardly fiend has stolen it.
“How could they!” I muttered as I stumbled back to the house just like Joe Btfsplk from the comic strip Li'l Abner by cartoonist Al Capp. There was even a black cloud over my head that followed me and my funk into the living room. My cat, Cindy, who normally sits in my lap and reads me the comics, took one look at my empty hands and retreated to the corner and remained there until noon. The history of Cindy reading me the Sunday comics is well documented by a series of photographs on Facebook. But it was not to be today. True, I can read the comics online on my tablet, but Cindy is an old school kitty and spurns all electronic devices.
My smartphone was still in the back of the house in its charging stand so I went online in search of the phone number for The State Newspaper. When this happened in the past, I would call the circulation department directly but this time instead, I called the main line. Instead of their Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system I actually reached a live person, just as the sun started peeking around that personal thundercloud surrounding my head. I spoke with a nice lady who apologized, and said that they would talk to the paper delivery person about it…
… and then she said something that made the heavens cheer and all the church bells in the neighborhood peal in joy, “We will deliver a paper to you as soon as possible this morning!” That is a promise that that nasty old IVR thingie never made. Sure enough, about 40 minutes later, the door bell was rung by a fresh faced young woman who apologized for the delivery error and placed a complete paper into my hands. It seems The State has contracted with local folks to handle missed deliveries. When I told her that this has happened before and I was wondering if someone was stealing papers in our neighborhood, she said that she will report this as a recurring problem and that if The State determines that some “Despicable Me” is stealing them, they have ways of catching them. I have a suggestion for a suitable punishment; make them read the paper for the rest of their lives off a tablet! The punishment meets the crime. Come to think of it, the Supreme Court would probably declare that to be cruel and unusual punishment.
So I settled down in my easy chair, paper and a cup of coffee in hand. To tell the truth; I like a little coffee in my cup of half and half and sweetener. Usually as I rustle the paper, Cindy comes running across the floor and jumps into my lap to tell me everything about what Charlie Brown and Snoopy are up to. But not today, she glowered at me from the corner where she was basking in the warmth of the furnace vent as if to say, “You had your chance, and you blew it, Bub! I’ll just chill out here until this evening and then I’ll join you for a little TV.” Yes, there is a picture on Facebook documenting that exchange!
I checked with the other two cats in the room but neither Patty or Millie was ready to challenge Cindy for the rights to Sunday Morning Comics Reading time. Even though it was a little lonely reading the comics alone, it was kinda nice to be able to turn the page without a paw slapping my hand back as if to say, “Not yet, I’m not finished with this page!” Oh MY!