One of my great indulgences is The New Yorker magazine. For anyone who savors the delicacy of the written word, The New Yorker is the crème de la crème.
I’ve never subscribed to this weekly magazine. That would be like having a case of dark chocolate truffles delivered to your home every week. Instead, The New Yorker always been a special treat, reserved for rare times of prolonged quietude—a coast-to-coast plane ride, a long weekend at the beach.
A few years ago, a friend who was moving out of the country transferred his subscription to me. I never would have chosen to order this frivolous subscription but I won’t lie, I was aquiver with anticipation.
The first issue came. I started with the first pages and read each Going on About Town, including the off-off-off-Broadway performances. As if I’d have the chance to pop into one. Each day, I enjoyed a bit of the week’s issue, savoring the essays, poems and cartoons. But it was a challenge to get through each issue before the next one arrived. I’d see the new one come in and I’d work to finish the last. I wouldn’t even peek at one until I’d finished the last.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t appreciate the writing the way I always had because it had become a chore, a quest. The weeks went by more and more quickly. How could it be Monday already when I am only three-quarters finished with last week’s issue? I was no longer savoring, I was binge reading.
Then it struck me – the image of Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, scoring their dream job at the candy factory. They thought it would be enjoyable, even easy. And it was, until the conveyer belt went into high gear. The ladies struggled to wrap the truffles as the candies raced by, eating those there wasn’t time to wrap. Not a bad assignment, enjoying chocolates while doing the job. Then the shift supervisor shouted, “Speed it up!” as the candies came at them at an impossible speed. Cheeks and blouses were bulging with the chocolates that eventually made them ill.
And so it was with The New Yorker—too much of a good thing coming way too fast. Mercifully, the subscription expired.
The New Yorker and I have made our peace. We still meet every now and then, usually in an airport news stand in a city far away. It is sweet.