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Twenty-First Sort

Coping with newspaper theft.

by Dear Jon
February 5, 2001

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Twenty-First Sort_Dear Jon-Coping with newspaper theft. ONLY ACTUAL LETTERS TO DEAR JON!

Dear Jon without an h,
Some of those life principles have appeared in print before. I saw them etched somewhere, and think the author was Moses Somebody. If I can reach him, you may have a law suit on your hands. Having said that, I've a question: You gave advice for how a guy should prepare (appease) his wife before a big football event he will be watching. So what did you do for your wife prior to that Super Bowl party you wrote about? Was the party coed or stag?
Always interested,
Ms. Looong


Dear Ms., Curiously, none of your questions or comments are aimed to solicit advice, but as this is an advice column, I will give some anyway: 1) "Dear Jon," is sufficient, but thank you for underscoring the correct spelling. 2) If you think you have seen "Dear Jon's Life Principles" anywhere else other than its premiere on Thursday, February 1, 2001, here are some possible explanations. a) Your powers of feminine intuition have caused you to comprehend these principles without articulating them, so they only "seem" familiar to you. b) Our collective consciousness, that divine essence, that inner light we all share, has allowed me to summarize these life principles independent of whatever esoteric resource you might be citing. c) You are delusional and paranoid. 3) Sometimes the Super Bowl party itself can be enough to bribe a female into participating. For some at our co-ed experience, the "draw" was the "Back Street Boys." In fact, the cupcakes were not painted according to team colors, but instead with the initials BSB. For my wife, it happened to be that some old college friends from her dormitory were making an appearance.


Dear Jon,
Somebody in my neighborhood keeps stealing my newspaper! What should I do?
Signed, Vexed


Dear Vexed,

Funny thing about newspapers at my apartment building: The carrier has no key to get inside, so he leaves the paper at the door. I called to cancel my subscription three months ago, but it keeps showing up for free!

The theft of newspapers, of course, is a serious offense. If everyone stole newspapers, there would be no free ones left for guys like me.

A responsible, well-adjusted adult would probably be intentional about getting out early to retrieve the newspaper. This is because, theoretically, morning editions are intended to be read before one leaves for work. They are not intended to be pulled in at 10 minutes to nine as an afterthought, to be read during commercial breaks in the evening. If you have a rare afternoon service, matters are more complicated because you are at work when the paper arrives.

Frankly, leaving a newspaper out all day is asking for trouble. If you are having trouble, it is either because you are late risers or, you have a highly-motivated thief who is awake and prowling at 5:30 in the morning. How many thieves have you heard of are morning people? So get up, go out, and get your paper. If, as you go out early, you see someone else taking your paper, ask them what they are doing. Perhaps they have an explanation. Perhaps it was all a misunderstanding. Perhaps they will kill you over the newspaper. But people kill people for any reason at all these days, so you are at no greater risk of this kind of random violence than any other.

For the rest of us neurotics who would prefer to sleep, and who only read newspapers for comics and coupons, another course is to post a sign to the effect of, "Only the subscriber at this address may take this newspaper." Next to this, post signs saying "Beware of Dog," "Neighborhood Watch,"
"Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted" and "Member NRA." If this bluff doesn't work, consider buying a dog and a gun. This will mean, of course, getting up early in order to set your ambush. But please, please, don't sic Fido on the paperboy by mistake while you get your .38 to finish him off, and then blame "Dear Jon." And you have to wonder whether getting a newspaper is worth owning an attack dog. At least as a subscriber you have something for your carpets, but that's like getting sick so you can use the medicine.

By the way, my free newspaper wasn't there this morning. I wonder if I should call....

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