Sports, entertainment, comics. That's how I used to read the paper when I was a kid. Sure, there were times when a picture on the front page would give me pause, but mostly I was hot on the trail of news that I cared about. What was happening with the local sports franchises? What movies were opening that weekend? What was up with Cathy?
And so it went, year after year. Presidents were elected. Governments were toppled. Fortunes were won and lost. I kept reading those three sections, not oblivious to the world around me, but with the purpose of gaining all the information that would allow me to get through the day. It makes me think of one of the best Steve Martin bits. In "Roxanne," Steve walks out of a cafe, buys a newspaper, looks at the headline, screams in terror, then pays again to put the newspaper back into the machine. It is a work of considered genius, and it informed me for lo these many years.
These days I open up my browser window and make a quick scan of the headlines, searching for the one the one that won't elicit a scream. "Romney Attacks Obama's Negative Campaigning." Eek! "Egyptians Pelt Clinton Motorcade With Tomatoes." Yikes! "Obama: DC 'Feels As Broken As It Did Four Years Ago.'" Ak! "Springsteen And McCartney Cut Off By London Curfew." There we go. Finally some news I can use.
Combine that along with the Oakland A's creeping ever-so-quietly out of the American League West cellar, and I can go about my business. If only we could find a swimsuit for Cathy.