Lame Adventure 230: The Agony of Intellectual Ecstasy

I have been subscribing to The New Yorker for exactly half my life, specifically for over 1,200 issues.  It normally arrives in my mailbox on Monday, but there are times when it’s delivered on Tuesday.  If I don’t see it by Tuesday, I go completely out of what’s left of my mind.  Even though I can access it digitally, since I only have a dumb phone and I don’t have a PDA, I’d have to print the stories I want to read and that’s a hassle.   Also, I like to flip through the pages.

Every Monday, The New Yorker emails me a link to that week’s issue, along with headlines about the stories.

New Yorker headline news.

This Monday they notified me that several of my favorite writers are being featured in this issue.

Ariel Levy, a journalist that is brilliant, babelicious and bats on my team, has written about the sexual revolution. This excites me almost as much as getting laid — if I did not already have a date with my TV to watch the US Open Men’s Tennis Final.

Ariel Levy interviewing Alec Baldwin at The New Yorker Festival in 2010.

My favorite short story writer, Alice Munro, has written a memoir piece, Patricia Marx, an excellent humorist, has taken on Shouts & Murmurs.  There’s a Roz Chast Sketchbook called “Walkabout”, Gay Talese investigates Tony Bennett collaborating with Lady Gaga, Art Spiegelman has an Artist’s Sketchbook called “Crossroads”, Michael Schulman covers playwright Katori Hall, and last but not least, the fiction is by Ann Beattie.

Could this be the best issue of The New Yorker ever?  Probably not, but it’s an issue I will likely read cover to cover.  As soon as the tennis match is over, even though my guy, Rafael Nadal, loses, I will have this Christmas in September issue of that magazine to provide solace and to distract me from my mental anguish.  There is one glitch.

When I open my mailbox, my magazine is missing.

On Tuesday, I half-heartedly suggest to my pal, Coco, that we get a drink after work.  Half-heartedly since the delivery of my magazine is possessing 98% of my thoughts.  Fortunately my gym rat friend has other plans.  She later texts me:

Coco’s text:  I ran 9 miles and lifted weights.

I up the dosage on my morphine drip and text back:

My text back:  Jesus, did u circle the entire island? After that epic workout did u quaff 2 martinis & call that home cooking?

Coco ignores my questions, counts to 100 and changes the subject; her tolerant way of telling me to go fuck myself.

I am in a foul mood after discovering that my magazine has not been delivered on this second day.  If I don’t see it by Tuesday, odds are good that I will never see it.  I have the sinking feeling that my treasured magazine has entered the void.  It occurs to me that it’s possible that my letter carrier deposited it in another tenant’s mailbox.  This makes me brood.  I wonder if that tenant made my loss his or her gain?  This makes me seethe.

Me: For the love of David Remnick, do something!

I force myself to do the unthinkable, wake early on Wednesday and call my post office, Ansonia Station, to lodge a complaint.  Bill, the supervisor, puts me through to my letter carrier, a very defensive woman who insists that she “always delivers” my magazine.

Me:  I’m sure you do always deliver my magazine, but can you say with 100% certainty that you put it in my mailbox this week?

She has no response and hands the phone back to Bill.  He also insists that I must have received my magazine adding:

Bill:  How can you prove that your letter carrier didn’t deliver it?

Me:  I didn’t get it so that’s a pretty good indication that it wasn’t delivered – at least to me.

Bill:  Are you sure though?

Me:  Am I sure of what?  It’s 7:57 in the morning.  Are you implying that I’m calling you at this hour about a magazine that I have and this is all some ridiculous game playing on my part?

Bill shifts gears and is now blaming Conde Nast for my missing magazine.

Bill:  Contact the publisher and ask them to send you another one.

Me:  Send me “another one” as if I received my copy of it already?

Since I am fully aware of the US Postal Service’s dire economic reality, I go in for the kill.

Me:  I suppose I could do that and see this week’s issue a month from now.  Maybe what I should really do is invest in an iPad, and just read it electronically.  That way I wouldn’t have to rely on the Postal Service at all.

Bill:  Hold on.

Bill puts me on hold probably to chew a Rolaid.

Bill:  I just saw that we still have some copies of New York here.

Me:  I got my copy of New York on Monday; I didn’t get my New Yorker.

I resist adding that I also subscribe to Time Out New York – since that might give the impression that I have a fetish for periodicals with New York in the title.

Bill:  I meant to say The New Yorker.

Me (intrigued):  Really?  Is there one with my name on it?

Bill:  I don’t know, but we do have some copies of it here.  I’ll see what I can do.  I can’t guarantee anything.

Since there is still the possibility that my letter carrier had simply placed it in the wrong mailbox, I pound out a letter to my fellow tenants as well as my letter carrier.  I ask my fellow tenants if they got it by mistake to please return it me personally, or leave it on top of the radiator cover.  I ask my letter carrier if she sees it on the radiator cover to put it in my mailbox.  I conclude that I am now completely out of the closet about being a loon, and should have myself fitted for a straitjacket.  I dread the idea that some douche bag or baguette might write something profane on my note.

A lunatic's plea.

When I come home, there is a message scrawled on my note by my letter carrier:

“It just arrive today.”

I open my mailbox and I have both my copy of The New Yorker as well as Time Out New York.  Inside the jukebox in my head, Edwin Hawkins is crooning the Gospel classic, “Oh Happy Day”.

Possibly, the happy ending to this debacle is the highlight of my year.  I lower my morphine drip and start reading.

14 responses to “Lame Adventure 230: The Agony of Intellectual Ecstasy

  1. I must say, insane or not, you have excellent taste in reading material. By the way, my mail carrier delivered the lost part of your brain in my box yesterday. I’ll try to have it returned immediately. Sorry.


  2. i’ve given up complaining about my mailman (he’s an idiot and i know this because i’ve spoken with him already) anyway, my problem with him has to do with his non delivery of netflix! he just sends them back!! i get a usps plastic envelope with the part of the envelope with my name on and a note that says that my mail was destroyed/damaged and this is all that’s left!
    by the by, i don’t think you’re a loon at all, sugar! 🙂 xox


    • Savannah, that’s an outrage! You need to do what Milton, Coco and my sidekick, Greg, all do — stream! Thanks for sharing your tale of postal service woe. I used to have the greatest mailman in the world, Leon, but he retired three years ago and it’s been downhill ever since.


  3. I get both “The New Yorker” and “People.” Judge away!


    • My favorite “guilty pleasure” magazine is Vanity Fair, but I only read it in my hair salon. When I was paid better, VF’s cover stories used to motivate me to cut and color my hair even more. I admit, pathetic.


  4. You, my dear, are a funny lady.


  5. This is so, so, so me you would not believe it! My substitute mailman stuffed my mail into the box on my porch wall recently, but neglected to take my Netflix envelope affixed to the outside of the box. You know — bright red envelope, with large white lettering, covering the whole front of the mailbox. I planned that Netflix would receive this DVD in time to deliver another to me for the weekend. I called the post office. The clerk hung up on me. I called back and got the postmaster. She also hung up on me. I took it to the top. I called the USPS toll free number listed online. I registered my complaint to a very nice young woman, and then a couple weeks later their quality control person called me and I repeated my complaint. Hopefully, they took corrective action. Meanwhile, our p.o. did send someone to pick up the DVD later that day, and I got my movie for the weekend. (Incidentally, I cannot stream Netflix because I do not have an Intel processor in my Mac; however, I pay the same as all of you who can both stream and — with good mail delivery — receive the DVDs in the mail. Netflix’s response to me? Get a new computer.) Cheers.


    • Wow, what is it with the USPS and Netflix? It sounds like Savannah’s letter carrier returns her before he delivers them and yours refuses to take them back! How considerate of Netflix to suggest you just throw money at the problem and upgrade your system to accommodate them. I’d sure like to live on their planet, Economic Utopia. Nice to hear from you! Feel free to vent here anytime.


      • Today, Saturday (I’m pretty sure), the postal carrier never came. Consequently, no mail delivered and my Netflix envelope hung on my mailbox all day. Thanks for the oppt’y to vent. I am excellent — and highly experienced — at that. Just ask inhabitants of planet Economic Utopia. Anyway, I am a fellow New Yorker reader — thank goodness this isn’t Tuesday, I might not have gotten the mag. I had a friend years ago who was a postal carrier. He said that the carriers used to take home customers’ mags to read, then deliver them when they were done. That may account for the pile of New Yorker mags at your p.o. Hey, David R., is there a discount for subscribing to pre-read New Yorker mags?


  6. Glad your story had a happy ending! You may be certifiable but at least you don’t subscribe to “Guns ‘n Ammo.” It’s pretty hard to go ballistic with a Roz Chast cartoon.


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