August 20, 2010

The Life of a Curmudgeon

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My Vanity Fair came the other day, looking more bloated than usual.  The articles are exceptionally well written.  There’s usually one really juicy one that’s worth the price of the subscription.  But I really hate the inserts, the thick advertisement pages, the fold out pages and the way the table of contents is 25 pages into the magazine.

So here’s what I do:  First I hold it up and shake out all the loose inserts, and then I flip through the pages, stopping at the most obvious of the thick pages.  These I cut out with scissors or a utility knife or tear out with my bare hands.  I do a second sweep and take out any I missed the first time.  I do this until the whole magazine can be easily rolled up like a newspaper.

Then I open the cover to the first page and: r-r-r-ip.

Second page: r-r-rip.

Look at these models, my God, they don’t even look real:  r-r-r-rip

What in God’s name is wrong with that one’s eyes?: r-r-rip.

Oh, that’s how you spell Jimmy Choo: r-r-rip. . .rip. . .rip.

Is that Julianne Moore?  Why is she always everywhere?: rip. . .rip.

What’s wrong with her eyes? r-r-rip. . . rip.

How can she walk in those things? r-r-r-rip

What’s wrong with her eyes? r-r-ip, rip, rip rip

Rip. Rip. Rip. Damn it, that’s the Table of Contents.

By now the Vanity Fair that came in the door as thick as a paperback book has the depth of Time magazine—spatially speaking.  But now I can read it.

My neighbor Gwen, who knows something about everything, loves the advertisements.  She used to design clothes at Opus 204 near the Pike Place Market.  When she looks at those emaciated models, she sees design.  I see people who if they tried to rip out a magazine page would break themselves in half.

I used to get a magazine called Real Simple.  When I finished my ripping routine and was left with 30 pages to read, I noticed that those 30 pages were advertisements, too.  Every simple suggestion had half a dozen expensive things you had to buy in order to make your life that much simpler.

They had a section where you could share your tips on how you were simplifying your life.  Every month there was a winner who got something: a free magazine subscription or a trip to New York to meet the advertisers.  Or maybe it was $30 off a gift wrapping station that needed a second wing on your house to accommodate it.  I thought about sending in my ripping routine as a suggestion and dare them to print it.  Instead I cancelled the subscription.

I am going to take those Vanity Fair pages over to Gwen.  Real simple.

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