OK, here’s a new series. I find a item in the news. I write about it. Neat, right? I know.

What’s my purpose? I wanna write. Also, I want to engage with the information. I want to dance with it. I would like to be present so that by the time my cereal bowl is empty, my mind is full. I want to be a better reader.

This family varies a bit in how it reads the paper. One of us grabs the Sports first and maybe the comics if time permits. One of us used to only read the comics but now reads major articles, especially if musicals are involved. I tend to skim a lot. “1 in 4 Cancer Deaths Tied to Smoking”? Skip. I already knew smoking causes cancer. Flip, flip, oh, I’ll read this.

Then there is my counterpart. She reads the paper like it’s going out of style (which, of course…). She reads it top to bottom, side to side. She reads it at the table, on the couch, in the bathroom, and at bed. She reads it until it’s all read up. When we get our Sunday New York Times, she reads that too, like she’s squeezing water out of a damp towel, like she’s growing potatoes on Mars. The crazy thing is, she’s probably the busiest of us all. I am in awe of her newspaper readership.

So, here I am, starting out. I don’t know what my rules are yet other than read, notice, write. I will start small. It may be painful at first. For instance, today’s item? I just re-read the paper and noticed an ad for John Cleese and Eric Idle. Cleese and Idle! They are appearing soon at a theater near you for “sit-down comedy.” I read the whole paper this morning and missed it. All I saw were issues of the day, politics, health, elections. This almost got past me.

Just a day or two I heard Luke on the Gilmore Girls make a Monty Python reference about the beaking incident on the lake (I’ve said too much already), comparing it to the rabbit. Last week, it was a sign posted on Facebook to do with silly walks.

When I think of John Cleese, I first hear my mom snorting with laughter during Fawlty Towers. There was a sign at the college where I used to teach that I would see early in the morning on my way to my 8am class: “Faculty” Something. Something about it reminded me of Fawlty Towers and every time I saw it I said to myself, need to look that up and compare, but I never did. I forgot all about it until the next time I was stumbling out of the fog across that little bridge past that Faculty Towers sign.

There are some things like that I forget and remember and forget and remember again, over and over. There should be a name for that.

“It’s called aging.” I know, I know. The memory-loss jokes never get old.

3 responses »

  1. Alcina says:

    I read the paper like it’s going out of style too, which of course….. My mom was a journalist and still writes, but less. All my life she’s had 2-4 newspapers per day. Sundays, an avalanche of newsprint discarded everywhere. Recently, I went to visit and there was no newspaper. She has cancelled paper news and now gets her news online. I was shocked at my shock, at my dismay, at my sense of … loss. I immediately ordered the local newspaper up here in Santa Rosa. I still read some news online, but I’m enjoying the PAPER all over my kitchen… and I have a vehicle for my compost too. Of course I love trees. This is the conundrum. Anyway, nice bit, clearly brought something up for me!

  2. Just Jan says:

    It’s all o.k. Peabody.
    I get bad dreams when I try to read the whole newspaper. I get a dishtowel to cover some bad war photos or I end up haunted. I try to be brave and as adultlike as your counterpart, but let’s face it- my empathy torments me.
    Any tortured son is my own son. It’s that bad. Or, that real.

  3. cynthia young says:

    Mr. Peabody,

    You are too YOUNG to talk about aging!


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