For several years I lived up a rutted, single-track dirt road on an island a 20-minute ferry ride off the coast of Maine. And each morning at my front door I beheld a small miracle of commerce: there lay The New York Times, neatly encased in its jaunty blue plastic bag, undeterred by distance, rough seas, or substandard road maintenance.

That miracle was repeated right up until the day my perpetually put-upon delivery person somehow got her car wedged crosswise in some ruts, then knocked over the neighbor’s garbage in the getting out, loudly sending a couple dozen beer bottles caroming across the road. When I pulled my newspaper from its bag that morning, a scrawled note on a scrap of brown paper fluttered out: “This road sucks,” it read. “I will deleiver here no more.”

She was good to her word.

I thought of her this summer,… More…

 

November 19 is one of the only unsung days of the year Hallmark hasn’t yet exploited: World Toilet Day. We spend about three years of our lives sitting on a toilet. Though we in the Western world may not realize it, that white piece of flushable porcelain is one of man’s best friends. We sit on its haunches morning, noon, and night, usually between six and eight times a day. It’s there for us after six-packs of beer, dried prunes, and bad Mexican food; through late nights and parties, bouts of nervousness and morning sickness; in sickness and in health. A good American Standard rarely lets us down and when it does, we just yank its chain and it dutifully begins to work again. These bad boys put up with our shit and rarely complain.

But some 2.6… More…