Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Seven Weeks Since

Yesterday morning, I woke up to the sound of a single thump at my front door. It took me a minute to realize it was the daily newspaper. The Washington Post, to which I subscribe, had restarted their daily delivery. I had forgotten that, seven weeks ago, when I left for my out of town gig, I had requested the paper be restarted on Monday.

It's been seven weeks since I read a newspaper. At least, while holding it in my hand. I am not one of those eccentrics who believes the only true way to read a newspaper is to have it in your hand, I'm perfectly happy to read it online, and often do. But I get a ridiculously low subscription rate from The Post, I guess because they, like all newspapers, are hemorrhaging subscribers. They have allowed me to keep my special introductory rate, which was only for 6 months, for about 6 years. So, though I really don't need the paper every day, I get it, at least when I'm in DC. You're dying to get the same deal, aren't you? I pay a buck eighty a week for all seven papers, which cost $4.50 at the newstand (if there were newstands anymore, which there aren't). Plus, I get the Sunday coupons! (yep, sorry to say, I'm that guy: I clip Sunday coupons.)

A lot can happen in seven weeks. Hey, a whole war was fought in 1866 in seven weeks, with Austria fighting both Prussia and Italy. By missing the paper for seven weeks, I missed lots of juicy details closer to home, concerning, for example, the South Carolina governor who ditched his family on Father's Day in order to screw his mistress. I did hear, from NPR, that this Upstanding Citizen has inadvertently invented a new euphemism for sexual exploits: "hiking the Appalachian Trail."

I also missed all the drama surrounding the Iranian elections and the Honduran coup. I haven't a clue what's in that health care bill, and I did not read a thing about the DC trainwrecks. Yep, there were two of them. The first one was that awful collision on the subway line (I still have a hunch that driver was busy texting when she plowed into the parked train).

The second DC trainwreck happened just this weekend, when our former mayor and convicted felon Marion Barry was arrested for stalking his girlfriend. Gotta love this guy, and the DC citizens who will forgive him anything.

This reminds me of another thing I've been missing out on. It's been seven weeks since I watched a television program which wasn't prerecorded. I had no TV service out at my digs, and when I returned to DC on my days off, I always watched shows I had taped. So I haven't seen a news show, a talk show, or a game show in seven weeks. I missed ALL of the McMahon tributes, the Farrah tributes, and the Karl Malden tributes (Karl did get some tributes, didn't he? I hope so, but not to worry, I plan one in these pages this week.)

The biggest shock of all is this: I believe I am the only person on the planet Earth who has not seen a single Michael Jackson report, tribute, or retrospective. Not one. Now that I'm back in civilization, though, it will be difficult to avoid them; just today, all the major networks and many of the minor ones are interrupting their programing to broadcast excruciatingly detailed coverage of the guy's funeral. Come on, the guy was a good musician who lived a freaky, screwed up life, but it's not like he was a pope or something.

I'm reminded of one more thing I've been missing. It's been seven weeks since I shaved. The lovely and talented Tamara Carruthers and Cat Lovejoy, Wayside's costume queens, asked all the men in the show to stop shaving, to give the show that scruffy look. I was happy to comply, so I haven't seen a razor in seven weeks. Yesterday, it occurred to me that I have spent as much of 2009 bearded as not; I also refrained from shaving while I was playing Polonius down at North Carolina Stage Company. I don't like my beard, which makes me look like Walter Brennan without the limp. So yesterday, I went to the gym (another thing I haven't done in seven weeks) for the express purpose of using their industrial sink to get rid of all this facial hair. I looked like this when I started:

...and now I look like my normal self again:

Okay, I took a little of the grey out, too. So sue me.

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