Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Loser's Favorite Thing to Do

Being what he is, the Complete and Total Loser lives alone and sleeps on a Posturepedic twin mattress that's on a low futon frame (his aging back said "no" to futons a decade ago). He has a bright light directly above his head. One of those new LED bulbs that doesn't buzz (watch it; some do, and loud). 
On his days off, which are Monday and Tuesday (losers often work weekends), his favorite thing to do is lie in bed and go through the weekend papers and the magazines that have piled up over the week or, being honest, past several months. 
He does this, and has for years, in a way even he finds peculiar despite his being the one who's doing it. He layers his reading material on the floor on left side of his bed, lies on his back and reads. When he decrees the item read he puts it on the floor on the bed's right, without any attempt to do so neatly. He knows that he'll be the one who has to pick up and neatly stack all the paper's for Wednesday's recycling, but he acts, while reading, as if he won't be. He's like an ape eating fruit, discarding peels and rinds without a thought or care where they go.
Then, when he's gathering the papers and magazines on Tuesday night, it takes him far more time and effort to do so than it would if he'd been neat about it in the first place. Part of him enjoys seeing the history of what he's read. The New York Times, the Sunday edition of the local paper, the small tabloid distributed by his city's mass transit system, the occasional alternative weekly, a thick monthly magazine or New Yorker, both which needed a willful effort to toss (you want to keep New Yorkers for months, to read that long article explaining the financial mess or reread that short story that seemed so brilliant but now, when you look at the title, you're not sure if you read or not), guilty pleasures like the comics and Parade Magazine, a Land's End catalog, the alumni quarterly from his prep school or private college, which he reads now only to see if the girls at the college are pretty (his prep school was all boys) and if any one he knew died.
The floor eventually cleared, the Loser's heart feels a little lighter and he's ready to begin again.

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