For Tradition’s Sake.

One of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures is diving up to my eyeballs into The New York Times each Sunday morning. It’s not that I can’t do without it—after all, that makes the obsession of a guilty pleasure cross the boundary from a downright need. But when I do without it, I might get a little cranky. (Okay, I get more than a little cranky.) Since my corner store only carries just enough of the heavy publication to satisfy several of us in the neighborhood, well let’s just say you’d have to be up really bloody early to get yours. Either that or resort to home delivery, which—after trying it once—I realized home delivery in Miami Beach is one thing The New York Times does not specialize in. We’ll leave it at that; after all, this is The Everyday Gentleman, not The Everyday Complaint Department. My advice on that: Just Say No To Home Delivery.

It has been a long time since I started reading that paper; in fact, when I was younger I used to get it only for studying the fashion illustrations lining the ads within its interiors; that, and I used the classifieds to find the kinds of jobs desperate Art School Graduates looked for. It was more of a tradition born of necessity back then to sit with the classifieds and a red pencil each Sunday with a hopefulness only someone in my position could have. The process of circling art-oriented jobs soon lead me to huddling over a stack of cover letters and resumes that I would send out to the attention of each of the contacts I found of interest in that classified section. Then the faxing began. (Yes I just said “faxing,” as in feeding paper into a fax machine, aiming for said papers to spit out the other end into someone’s real inbox and not the trash basket.) Well, it was either that or the mail—you got it: stamps, self-addressed envelopes and everything.

The revival of my desire for getting the Sunday Times could be attributed to a great many reasons now, but the motive is clear: I want this indulgence to be in creating a tradition that I know matters. The written word, the printed paper, the dry ink smudged on my fingertips as a kind of physical sign of accomplishment, the turning of actual pages—and I say all this with much respect to everyone who is a fan of digital tablets, e-readers and iAnythings. (To be honest, I don’t think the marketers behind the commercials for today’s e-readers and such are trying to include me as their target. Take for example “Kindle Friends,” which currently makes me sadder than looking at this:

Kidding aside… This is not my anti-digital proclamation, (as I have none of those,) but more of a point of stating that I love having this thing—this process—among many that contributes to who I am and wanted to share the idea of having a tradition. What’s yours?


PS – interesting tweet I came across from the inimitable Karl Lagerfeld that I thought might be fun to include here (even if we’re not necessarily talking about “expensive books,” it’s kind of worth posting.)


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