My buddy, Ralph Miller, regularly sends articles, excerpts, and videos from the New York Times. A week or so ago, he sent a link to an article about parrots being used with PTSD patients. The title of the article, What Does A Parrot Know About PTSD, grabbed me, just like Ralph knew it would. In fact, the story grabbed me so strongly, I, along with 266 other readers, wrote a comment – so far, it has received 34 likes – that’s more than any post I’ve ever put on Facebook.
I don’t care one way or another about the like, but I loved the article more than any Ralph had sent so I emailed and asked how he received his copies of the New York Times. His first response wasn’t a lot of help. “My wife forwards the stories she thinks I’ll like…”
A few minutes later, sensing that I might be interested in subscribing and not in knowing the details of his digital life, Ralph sent another email. “I think it’s part of the deal that gets the Sunday edition of The Times delivered to our house.”
Sensing that was all the information I was going to get from him, I Googled New York Times Subscriptions. In a digital instant, I was looking at four options. I selected number four and three or four clicks later I was into my first digital issue.
In another lifetime, the professional speaking one, I visited New York often. I knew my way around Manhattan, traveled to the tip of Long Island a few times, spoke many times in Brooklyn, all in despite of my obvious redneckness…
Still, that was a long time ago, and I wasn’t sure I’d still qualify for receipt of a real hard copy of The New York Times. But, electronically transferred money worked. It didn’t matter at all that it came from Alabama. Still a nagging doubt stayed in the back of my mind, How in the hell would The Times get the newspaper to me on Sunday? Do they have the same deal with the post office that Amazon has? Will they put it in the mail Saturday and cross their fingers that I get it by the middle of next week? And so the thought stream went…
Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I decided to email Ralph and ask how the New York Times got to his North Carolina home and risk whatever answer he would give. I glanced at my watch. 12:15 AM, Sunday. Before I cranked up my email, I went outside to fetch something from the car. On the porch I stopped in my tracks and forgot what I’d come outside for when I spotted the blue plastic sleeve at the head of the driveway. MY NEW YORK TIMES HAD ARRIVED!
Obviously magic didn’t put it there. The Times distribution system, working with a Huntsville, Alabama, independent contractor did. Still, at age 73, I often marvel as I think of the advances I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I just as often cry when I think of the ones I haven’t .