As a ponderer of the unimportant but significant turnstiles of life, I could easily list some pompously conceived New Year’s Resolutions in a way that might induce you to believe I actually plan to follow them.
I prefer instead to list an item from page 48 of my imaginary BOOK OF COUNTED PLEASURES.
Here is one thing I count on to get me through my time on Earth.
Nothing quite compares to the comfort and small joy I receive from walking into the front yard each morning and picking up the day’s copy of the New York Times. What news both horrible and divine might tumble into my field of view once the paper is opened and flattened?
This predictable act will never become boring, since the paper’s delivery is so erratic.
Some days, the Times is hidden in damp bushes, not to be found till 48 hours later. At times the paper is soaked through so that each page bleeds into adjacent pages and becomes unreadable. Sometimes, the paper is in the street, nicely pancaked by passing vehicles. And on days when everything seems to be going right, an entire section or two of the freshly-tossed paper will be missing. So, each morning is filled with tension and expectancy—what will the paper be like today, will it even arrive today, will I find today’s some later day?
The serial drama continues when I “report” the missing or mutilated Times to the carrier. The response is always the same, “We’ll get another copy to you right away.” Almost never happens. I wind up searching for a replacement whenever I can find a vendor who still carries copies, but most days it just isn’t worth it. If I want to learn what is going on in the world I have to depend upon NPR or—horrors!—the unvetted Internet.
But the Joy is still there. The erratic appearance of the paper only serves to make more pleasurable the mornings when everything is in its place—the newspaper is on the sidewalk, nice and dry and beckoning—like this morning, for instance. And lo and behold—the magazine and book review supplements are present, too!
Life seems complete for about 20 seconds.
And 20 seconds of bliss scattered hither and yon throughout my days is the best I can hope for, in a world where sorrows and unwanted challenges vie for my attention, my time and my fragile soul

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