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.
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.
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.
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.