Somehow the weekly paper finds its way into my driveway each Wednesday afternoon, with no subscription necessary. Flipping through its 40 or so pages has become one of the simple pleasures that I find myself appreciating more and more as I continue to “mature”.
A while back, we canceled our subscription to the large, somewhat self-important daily rag that we’d received for years. A significant percentage of its content had become nothing more than sales flyers from establishments I’d never frequent. The typical Sunday edition alone must have weighed in at five pounds or more.
Of more concern to me was the fact that the daily paper’s staff had moved down the slippery slope of believing that their jobs were to create, rather than report the news; while at the same time educating their readers on the preferred and proper way to think about the issues of the day.
The local weekly paper, on the other hand, focuses on simple unbiased reporting of local events in an “as it happened” manner, without attempting to spin the facts in one direction or another. And the news is presented in a manner which recognizes and respects my ability to form and hold my own opinions.
At one time, there were three weekly newspapers serving my local community. Now that number has been reduced to one. The large daily has also experienced significant changes, one might say decline, in recent years. Its staff and circulation have been reduced significantly and the paper has been forced to move out of its large downtown office building in favor of smaller, less impressive digs out in the suburbs.
But more to the point, not only can the local paper be relied upon to keep me up to date on events close to home, it almost always contains an article or two which causes the eyebrows to rise and the lips to curl into a smile and a chuckle.
The latest edition contains the story of local man who was arrested for “allegedly” driving his car, while under the influence of alcohol, into the pond located in front of a large manufacturing plant. I recognize the need to protect the accused man’s right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, but to be honest, I don’t think that there’s much doubt in this case.
Shortly before the submersion of the automobile, the police had received a call from a young man informing them that his roommate had just driven away from their apartment and that it was “possible” that he might be inebriated. Moments later another call reported that a car had been seen floating in the pond. Responding to the scene, police found the car, but the driver was missing. Eventually, he too was located; enjoying a late evening stroll on a nearby road attired in nothing but his boxer shorts.
To paraphrase the famous closing line from a ’60s television police drama, ‘There are many stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.‘