08 June 2005
Give me your poor, your tired, your 52 weekly issues at a significant savings...
Hello, my name is Jim, and I am a magazine hoarder.
How did I get here, standing up in front of strangers and admitting my problem? I'm not quite sure, but I do know that it has taken a long time for me to get to this point.
They say problems like this have roots all the way back in childhood. Looking back, I can see a few signs from then that led me to this place. My mother used to shop for groceries every Friday afternoon, and would return with a few household magazines that I would eventually thumb through. As an eight year old, I found myself saying many times "No, this marriage cannot be saved..."
When I was in junior high school I absconded with multiple back issues of "Baseball Digest" from the library. This was before the invention of whatever that thing is that clicks every time you enter and exit a library so that no one takes anything without checking it out first. That whole ugly thing could have been avoided if the school library didn't have a fascist policy of not allowing magazines to be checked out in the first place.
There I go again, blaming others for my troubles, things that I have created myself and have no one else to blame for.
I recently moved into my wife's house, and while I was packing I noticed that I still had a significant collection of assorted magazines that I moved twice before, all because I could not bring myself to toss them into the recycling until I had read them all. So they sat for a year. And then I moved. And I brought them with. And they sat for a year. And they are still unread. And I moved. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I have a year's worth of "Brill's Content," a magazine which hasn't been published in at least five years.
I have "Golf Digest" issues from the late 1990's because one day I shall read them, and therefore take ten strokes off my handicap.
Does anyone ever bother to read "The New Yorker"? Every article is so damn long. I want to know about the plans for Ground Zero, but do I have to read twenty-two pages to understand them?
Is "Newsweek" relevant if the news is three years old? Can I suggest they change the name of the periodical to "Newsfromtheearly21stcentury"?
And yes, it is the hardest thing to admit here, but I do subscribe to "Entertainment Weekly."
Subscribe. There's the rub. It started in the late 80's, when I had to have "Sports Illustrated" every week. I still do, and I must say, I get around to reading most issues before they hit their one month old mark. But as the years passed, I found myself bombarded with cheap offers for other magazines. What's ten bucks for a year of "National Geographic Traveler"? So what if I travel to a place, then read about in a magazine that is twenty months old?
I get these notices that say I am eligible for a "professional's discount" which is how I ended up with three years worth of The New Yorker for fifteen dollars. As I said before, I need a month just to read each issue.
I'm sorry, I know I am supposed to be totally open and honest here, but I just cannot talk about my experience with "The Economist."
I have answered "yes" to far too many of the "do you ever" questions regarding magazine habits. Steps must be followed.
This week, when Mr. Browning-Ferris stops by to collect the recycling, he's going to find about twelve bags full of old magazines waiting for him on the curb. I've admitted my problem and I am getting rid of the half-read issues that I have hidden under the bed, in dressers, and in bathroom closets. I will shred unsolicited mailings unopened from now on. I will remember that books are more enjoyable and last longer.
I hope Mr. BFI doesn't peek inside any of the bags he has to pick up this week. I'd hate to be responsible for someone else's relapse.