The New Yorker

Please, tell me if this is weird. I’d hate for this to be some embarrassing item that will come back to haunt me later on in life, so I’d prefer to know now so I can stop.

Someone brings copies of The New Yorker, a very highbrow literary magazine, to work and invariably leaves them at the stations. Every night, as I have mentioned before, I pick up all of the magazines and put them in our magazine rack. Except for the copies of The New Yorker. These I take home.

Here’s where my secret is revealed: I’ve never read an article in The New Yorker. Not one. In fact, I’ve hardly even skimmed through them. Most of the time I don’t know anything about the issue I’ve nabbed except for the odd artistic cover and the advertisement for Krug champagne.

Why do I do this? What am I trying to prove?

It would be one thing if I scattered them around the house to give the illusion of being a well-read gentleman, but I don’t. I stack them upstairs next to my reading chair. Each issue does nothing more than keep the issue below it a little warmer.

The first one I picked up had an article by Umberto Eco, an author that I had just struggled through a few weeks prior. That’s my excuse for one of the twelve issues I’ve collected.

The rest? I think I’ve entertained the idea of actually browsing through them and reading a few articles. It’s like my love for short stories – there’s no real commitment to what you’re reading. If I hate it, I can stop and not feel that much time was wasted. If I do like it, I can seek out more from the same author – something of more substance. I should, therefore, be simply ecstatic with the idea of reading The New Yorker. It has everything – brevity, intellectual value, a sense of being important.

So here’s what I’m doing: I’m taking very well received magazines from work that someone has left, bringing them home and not reading them (though they are worth reading) and not displaying them (though they’d give the impression of being a very smart person) and instead am just stacking them on an old box in the dormer, a stack that I quite often use as a beer coaster.

Is that weird?

This was lovingly handwritten on September 12th, 2005