Thursday, May 26, 2011



"I'm calling to see if you would like to get the daily paper again, in addition to the Sunday paper you're already receiving. For only a dollar forty-two more, you can get a paper the other six days of the week! We can put your current balance against the charges and let you know when you owe us."

It was a woman calling from the newspaper office, Dear Reader. (I'm telling you as though it's not about as clear as the mouth on your face-- although I suppose without hearing the lilting, melodious voice, you'd not be aware of the feminine distinction). Perhaps four months ago I had called to cancel our subscription to the daily paper. At the time, they'd convinced me to keep on receiving the Sunday edition--using the balance already paid to go toward that once-a-week delivery.

"Hmm, well," I responded. "My husband's been grumbling for lack of the daily paper. I suppose we could re-subscribe for a little while and see how it goes--see if it's actually picked up and read every day.* Is there any way we could get it in the mailbox, instead of thrown on the lawn double-wrapped in plastic?!"

"I'm afraid they won't let us put it in your mailbox. It's against the law now. But I'll make a note that you don't like the plastic,"
she said. "Okay, great!"

"All right then,"
I said. Then I paused.

"By the way,"
I asked. "What IS our current balance?"

"If you can hold a minute, I'll check,"
she said.

A few minutes later she came back on the line with her response:
"It's thirteen cents."

Well, Dear Reader, that struck me as funny! That marketing lady and I had a very good laugh together. It was well worth thirteen cents, but I didn't have to pay a thing for it!

In the old days, Dear Reader, prior to
canceling the daily paper, those missiles would lie
soggy and forlorn in the lawn for days at a time. I think I should have told the woman
on the phone, "We'll just go ahead and use up our current balance, and see how it goes from there."


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