Open Letter to the Man Who Steals My Sunday Paper
I don’t want this to come off as ridiculously rude, but goddamnit, stop stealing my Sunday paper.
Ok, actually, step back and let me introduce myself. I’m a journalist, and your neighbor, and while I get the Washington Post delivered on my doorstep every day, I only get the New York Times on Sunday, and when it arrives it gets put in a little basket in the lobby. That’s where you come in. Each Sunday, depending on when I come down to get my paper, I find it, or one of its cousins, rifled through. That is if I find it at all. If I do, I’ve come to accept that you’ve taken its neatly folded pages and peeled them back as if you were making a tissue paper flower, and left your black thumb and fingerprints–evidence!–all over its pages. Occasionally, you attempt to put the sections back in some semblance of order, but you end up leaving the paper looking rumpled, like it’s been caught cheating, lipstick on its collar. This typically drives me nuts.
But this morning, you were actually there, sitting on the lobby couch, enjoying a leisurely read. “I’m just reading it,” you said nonchalantly, looking up from the business section as I reached for the basket. You seemed completely unperturbed by the fact that you were caught in the act. And alas, the sticker which typically identifies my paper was missing, and the papers were each stuffed into blue plastic bags. So I grabbed one of the other ones in the basket, and may have yelled something at you as I let the front door of our building slam behind me. I apologize for that, because you deserve to have this said to your face: You suck.
I realize I’m doing the passive aggressive twentysomething internet thing and taking my beef to the web, but frankly the web is exactly the place you could go if you wanted to read the New York Times, for free, every Sunday. It’s a huge problem facing my line of work, and I do small things like subscribe to magazines and newspapers to keep journalism afloat, and to ensure that myself and my coworkers will have jobs to go to in the coming years. So there’s one option for you. The other is for you to subscribe yourself. Obviously there are about five other people in the building who have managed to figure out this byzantine process, and who expect to reap the rewards of their dedication to the printed page by finding it there, untrammeled, on the weekends. There’s also the library (where rumor has it the books are also free), or you might even be able to snag the Style section at the Starbucks nearby if you get there early enough. But let me be clear, our apartment lobby is not your personal reading nook, and you’re lucky I didn’t snatch that paper from your hands.
Oh, and it was also very thoughtful of you to stuff the paper you read back in the blue bag it came in once you were done with it. I’m sure our other neighbors hardly noticed.