Have a newspaper day

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

This column is going to start off sounding political but read on. It will swerve to something more palatable: breakfast.

To know what‘s really going on, I listen to or read online all the news sources – MSNBC and FOX, The Beast and The Guardian, Epoch News and the NYTimes, National Review and The New Republic, NPR and Rush Limbaugh and of course GreeneCountyNewsOnline.

Not all of it is easy. I listen to some of the news for a long time; other news I read for a little bit to get the gist of the point of view. Some days I ignore the “other side.”

So far, I have not been influenced by broadcast or print news to change my political leanings. I assume, therefore, that suggesting a switch to unfamiliar stations or periodicals now and then to hear what the other side is saying probably is not going to convince anyone to switch party affiliation. It is interesting to see different points of view, however.

My very nonpolitical friend asked me why I have to listen to the choir singing the same song every day. This friend is the same one who years ago, when I was complaining about trying to find my morning newspaper in the snowdrift, asked me why I would even think about trudging out in the cold for news that was going to be the same as yesterday’s.

She just didn’t get it, the addiction to news, especially in the form of newspapers. I ignored that what she meant was that I was never readying anything NEW anyway.

The older I get, the more her points make sense to me. But the older I get, the more habitual I seem to be, the routine of perusing the news early in the morning a comfortable piece of business that goes along with the joy of my favorite breakfast. You might know this feeling — looking forward to your coffee and toast or your tea and oatmeal, day after day, year after year.

Breakfast may be the most nostalgic meal of the day, accumulating over the decades to a favorite, beloved continuum in the accumulation of otherwise pointless experiences.

For many years, my breakfast was shredded wheat with milk and sugar, plus black coffee. I don’t know if it was the long-term effect of lack of variety, but when I began to have digestive problems, my doctor told me I had to give up wheat and dairy. This was a mighty hardship, my morning repast being wheat and dairy. Along with the removal of a kind of childish anticipation that this breakfast engendered in my dawn mind, I became childishly whiney about having to change it.

Had I only known. My altered breakfast routine was the first wedge in ensuing insults having to do with the aging process.

I have been in search of THE breakfast ever since. My trying to land on something as pleasant as shredded wheat with milk and sugar has been a vain endeavor. I’ve been through peaches and cream, oat muffins, non-dairy smoothies, bacon and eggs, non-gluten waffles (a truly awful waffle).

The other sadness relating to the passage of time was when I had to give up the morning newspaper. I’d been reading a morning newspaper since before kindergarten when I discovered one Sunday after Mass that I was READING the funnies. I’m not quite sure when I really began reading the morning news, but I pretend it was then. Sixty years later, when the price of print news began to skyrocket – about the time I realized what it meant to be on a retirement budget – I gave up the increasing monthly price of a delivered newspaper.

Ever since, I’ve been trying to figure out what to read while I’m trying to figure out what to eat. Novels are for evening, or perhaps a slow day’s afternoon. Magazines are for lunch, not breakfast; maybe while waiting for somebody to show up. Poetry is for the onset of moodiness. TV doesn’t figure in at all.

Each day since I had to give up newsprint and shredded wheat with milk has been a hunt for something illusive – nostalgia, the good old days of doing what I wanted, a decent digestive system that growled for a stellar breakfast. Anything but the actuality of the misnamed “golden years.”

I do read GreeneCountyNewsOnline at breakfast once a week. Some days I peruse one or two of the four free articles a week I can access from The New Yorker until they shut me out for not subscribing. Or the free access to the Manchester Guardian, which is a revealing look at us from the advantage of not living here but in Manchester, England. Sometimes I read the Huff Post, although they focus a little too much on entertainers I never heard of.

Reading a computer at breakfast – which is how I get the above news – is kind of revolting to me because it is NOT print news; and really upsetting when I spill the oatmeal on the keyboard. It is not as bad, however, as having a television on – the morning people on TV are too yakky, too petty, too shallow and too happy. I am happy at Happy Hour; I prefer no talking during the breakfast hour.

Sometimes I just munch on toast and gaze out the window at the trees. This is satisfying but lacking in substance. It’s morning and I’m supposed to be informing myself for the coming day, not dawdling and daydreaming about squirrels.

The dilemma continues. If you got this far, thanx for reading. Hope you’re having a newspaper day…and eating just what you want for breakfast.

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