Saturday, October 01, 2005

Reading The New Yorker...

...probably forever, or in my case to the end of my days. I celebrated my birthday last Wednesday. Well, ‘celebrate’ might be too grand a word since I am practicing a kind of magic where birthdays are concerned: If you don’t celebrate, you live forever.

Of course ‘forever’ doesn’t happen, which is why I’ve settled for ‘the end of my days’—see above. But I’ve digressed.

Probably to keep me pacified during my declining years, my wife gave me The New Yorker. No, not a subscription. I mean she gave me the whole New Yorker, 4,109 issues, half a million pages, every cartoon, ad and article starting with the very first issue back on February 21, 1925. All on eight DVDs.

A couple of astonishing things here. First, someone actually had to scan in each of those half million pages. That must have required an iron will on the part of whoever did the job just to avoid looking at all the cartoons, reading an article or two, and popping over to the next cubicle to share some tidbit.

Most astonishing of all is the fact that they still had the four thousand, one hundred and nine copies of The New Yorker. How big a stack is that!

So I did what you’ll do if you ever get every single New Yorker since 1925. You’ll look for the issue nearest your birth date and take a trip in time. In my case there was an issue dated exactly on my birth day: September 28, 1929.

If I had been my mother or father I could have gone to the movies to see Ronald Coleman in "Bulldog Drumond," (all movies in the listing talkies unless otherwise noted.) It was also reported that the Radio Corporation was about to offer more than 18 months away. And if Dad had just a tad more than seventeen hundred dollars he could have bought a top-of-the-line luxury Marmon straight eight town car.


We are busy throwing away stuff. We have to because we are launching into home improvement and that means reducing our living room, dining room, three closets and a hall down to the bare walls for the tile guys. This effectively cuts our home into three parts, leaving the kitchen at one end of the house and the two bedrooms (one of which is a home office) at the other end separated by newly set tile that can’t be walked on for a day.

We will throw ourselves on the mercy of a neighbor, who has agreed to take us and our two cats. (The cats, incidentally, will surely be badly spooked by the noise of hammering up all the old tile.) More about this later.

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