What the Hell

What the Hell

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Singing Newspaper Man and Being Happy

We have an assortment of odd characters on our little island.  One of the regulars is our newspaper seller.  Every morning, come rain or come shine, (most of the time around here you can guess which one we usually get) there he is, an extremely tall fellow wearing a pack of newspapers and walking from car to car in the line for the ferry plying his wares.  I used to think he was humming gibberish as he went along, but recently my husband was with me, and he has an uncanny ability to understand what seems to others to be nonsense...I remember years ago when we lived in a small town and had a business space in the downtown, and there was this young man who had cerebral palsy and could only grunt and jerk his arms and legs around to communicate.  He would try repeatedly to make the rest of us understand what he was trying to say, then one of the shopkeepers would say, "Somebody go get Jeff!"  And my husband would come down and listen to the grunts and squeaks, then say, "He wants a hamburger," or "he wants to know if you have a job for him." (that job incidentally was usually sweeping the sidewalk in front of one of the shops for a dollar or two...my boss owned a gift boutique that only sold angels, and one day Pee-Wee [our nick-name for him before anyone knew his name] accidentally knocked off a ceramic angel figurine and stood there stricken, weeping profusely at what he had done...after that, he was pretty much relegated to sweeping the sidewalk...) One day my amazing husband even took Pee-Wee home, and he lived about 10 miles out of town, off a country road.  Later Jeff told me along with a group of astonished friends that Pee-Wee gave him directions.  Incredible.  But again, as usual, I digress!  So this particular morning waiting for the ferry, the weather was cold and drizzly, and after a gloomy winter here, I was feeling particularly sorry for the newspaper man.  Heck, I was feeling sorry for myself!  I also had two dollars in my pocket, a rarity most days.  I started to feel guilty.  Here he was, every morning, walking with his heavy bag of newspapers, trying to make a living, cheerful as could be, like he didn't have a care in the world.  And now I realized, as my husband pointed out, he wasn't humming "dum-de-dum-de-la-la-la," but he was SINGING.  It went something like this, "New York Times, Seattle Times, paper please......"  That did it.  "Roll down your window and buy a newspaper," I told my husband.  We did.  I still haven't read it.  It's a little tiny wisp of a thing actually, as nearly all printed newspapers are anymore, and the news is all depressing anyway.  Actually I would have rather have had the New York Times, but couldn't bring myself to hunt for another 50 cents and pay $2.50 for a newspaper, when I could look at the news on the internet for free.  Besides, as my husband pointed out, it was more a charitable donation than a purchase.  Or as I'd like to consider it, an investment in a quickly vanishing way of life....Sing on, Mr. Newspaper Man; you have reminded me what a gift life can be.....  

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I really do want to connect with other people out there, but PLEASE keep it clean and civil. Or else I will have to block you. And please do not use bad grammar or seriously misspelled words. I hate that. It is just a thing with me.
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