Friday, October 14, 2005

Life Imitates Seinfeld

or "Why We Get Home Delivery of The Wall Street Journal"

Again and again, I find that life imitates Seinfeld. Perhaps that's the genius of the show. At any rate, I was reminded of it recently when I saw the episode where Kramer returns his fruit and is banished forever from his favorite produce market.

When we first moved to Long Island, my husband started buying his Wall Street Journal from the newsstand at our train station. The first day he picked up the 75 cent paper and handed the man a dollar, he received two dimes and a nickel change. The next day, same thing. On the third day, a woman in front of my husband paid for her paper with quarters, but still the man gave my husband two dimes and a nickel.

"Why don't you give me a quarter?" my husband asked.

"Why do you mess up my papers?" the man shot back.

"Mess up your papers?"

"You never take the top copy."

"Uh, yeah. That's true, I always take the second one."

The man wagged his finger. "A bad habit, my friend."

With three days of dimes and nickels jangling in his pocket, my husband shrugged and went on his way, thinking the guy needed to lighten up. After all, didn't everyone take the second paper?

The next day my husband decided he'd beat the newsstand man at his own game, and paid in dimes and nickels. The man just glared.

This went on for several weeks--my husband taking the second paper, the kiosk man never giving him a quarter, my husband giving him back his dimes and nickels every fourth day. The tension built until one day the kiosk man upped the ante and gave my husband his change in just nickels.

What did he hope to accomplish? Did he think my husband would call a truce at that point and start taking the top paper? No way. By this point there was principle at stake. This is America, damnit, and if someone wants to take the second paper, he does.

The man continued to give my husband nickels for the next two days. And as you probably guessed, on the fourth day my husband grabbed the second paper from the top and gave the newsstand man fifteen nickels.

The man looked down at the change in his hand, nostrils flaring. My husband smirked and walked away, but the man threw down the changed and yelled after him, "You are a bad man! You cannot buy your newspaper here anymore! You ... are ... BANNED!"

We've been getting home delivery ever since.


Don Capone said...

This is hysterical. very Seinfeldian. Talk about giving no quarter!

Ellen said...

Thanks, Don! Living through it really was like being inside a Seinfeld episode. The day my husband came home and told me he had actually been BANNED from the newsstand, he was pretty upset because he needed to read his Wall Street Journal before he got to work, and he had no place else to buy it. Eventually he saw the humor!

Katie said...

This is too funny!! BANNED!

Myfanwy Collins said...

HILARIOUS!!! Oh my god! That is the funniest story, Ellen.

dennis mahagin said...

The Newspaper Nazi!

"...No Scoop For You!..."


daniel olivas said...

this MUST end up in your fiction. period.

Leslie said...

Oh poor Mike! What a mean paper man.

This kind of thing happens to me ALL the time in NYC. Some people just get off on being rude and territorial.

e said...

I almost fell out of my chair and hit my head on my desk I was laughing so hard at the end...

Ellen said...

Hi Katie, Myf, Dennis, Daniel, Leslie and Erik! Glad you got a kick out of this. I've been waiting for the opportunity to share this.