Come on – please print me
Growing up, The New York Times was part of my family. It accompanied us on every car trip, at every morning meal and the read sections that weren’t lying beside my yellow Schwinn bike in the garage awaiting recycling day lined the bottom of my parakeet’s cage. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve my Dad asleep on the porch with his nose buried in the Book Review and my Mom in the bedroom fluffed up by pillows, surrounded by several weeks’ worth of Dining Out, House & Home and Travel sections.From the time that I started learning to read, my Dad encouraged me to look at The New York Times. Some parents beseech their kids to clean their rooms or finish their cauliflower (both of which my Mom still does when I’m visiting). But my Dad urged me to try and pronounce Menachem Began. He also pleaded with me, beginning in second grade, to learn five SAT words a day, every day, for 12 years, so I’d be prepared when the time came to take the exam. I opted out of the former and latter.Like my sister, The New York Times was better read and more lauded than I and, no matter what I did, was just so many steps ahead of me at all times. The Gray Lady was a daunting presence in my life, but nevertheless, reading it was something to which I aspired through the years.When I got to college, I started buying The New York Times as a fashion accessory. I didn’t actually read it, but I felt scholarly having it tucked conspicuously under my arm as I strolled around campus.I finally started reading it after graduation. I was studying for the GREs and my Dad suggested that I attempt the crossword puzzle as a vocabulary strengthener. (Sadly, four years of studying Shakespeare and 19th century British chick lit didn’t exactly prepare me for words like perfidious or perspicacious.) I started with the Monday puzzle and slowly worked my way through Thursday – I still don’t go near Friday or Saturday – and then onto Sunday.At some point, my eyes wandered from the puzzle to the articles in the Arts section. Then I found myself attracted to Monday’s Business section. I learned all about the diseases I don’t have in the Science and Health sections on Tuesdays. The National, International and Metro sections became a daily necessity. And Sundays? How else can I be expected to get an accurate count of how many ex-boyfriends and former summer camp bunkmates are married if not for the Styles section? I even read the Sports section on Sundays.When I made my way out into the real world, my Dad offered an invaluable piece of advice for winning disagreements which I was on the verge of losing: simply start a sentence with, “Well, according to the New York Times…” Or, respond to your debate partner with, “A recent article in The New York Times suggests otherwise.” Trust me – both phrases are now a time-tested proven method of one-upping the most uppity.I realized years ago that I wasn’t willing to accept a second date with any guy who actually admitted to reading only the New York Post or the New York Daily News or, heaven forbid, USA Today. I realized that my boyfriend is probably Mr. Right when he gave me a Sunday subscription for my birthday this year. Diamonds may be forever, but home delivery is the gift that keeps on giving. My story is so clearly fit to print.It’ll be like when you’re in the Museum of Modern Art looking at the gigantic canvas painted entirely in one shade of red. You think to yourself, “I could have done that.” But you didn’t.Or the guy who proposed to his girlfriend through the local newspaper’s crossword puzzle. You chuckle, “How clever. Why didn’t someone think of that before?” Oh well.Or the person who recently auctioned off advertising space on his forehead on eBay for $37,000. D’oh.But this idea hasn’t been taken. Let me be The New York Times Buzz Girl. They should print me for the sake of blowing my parents’ minds, one-upping my sister and thumbing my nose at my 11th grade English teacher who kicked me out of his honors class because I wrote a paper on a book which I never actually read (on which I still managed to get an A- before being discovered. Ha.). I’ll be the next human-interest guest booked on Letterman or Good Morning America. People Magazine will do a profile. It’ll be the stuff of urban legends.You’re reading this and thinking, “The New York Times doesn’t print people just because they ask.” However, consider for a moment the distinguished history of The New York Times – would the Paper of Record really sustain permanent damage by printing one measly novelty column? Could the resulting scandal be any worse than Jayson Blair?Go on. Just print me.Should Maureen Dowd be unable to fulfill her twice-weekly columnist duties, Meredith Cohen is ready and willing to pinch-hit. Questions or comments can be e-mailed to email@example.com
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