I'm beginning to believe I have a serious problem with magazines. Subtle hints are being dropped.
WIFE: Hey knucklehead, you have a serious problem with magazines!
WIFE: Your side of the bedroom is a fire hazard.
WIFE: CLEAN THAT MESS UP, NOW!*
At last count, there were exactly 176 magazines stacked precariously, towering over my lamp and clock/radio (I didn't bother to count the magazines stuffed into ten or fifteen magazine holders on the floor). That's dangerous enough, but here's the really debilitating part--I have a burning need to read every page of every one of them. Maybe not every word, but I have to at least scan the headlines and get the gist of what's going on (yes, this includes the ads).
The magazines run the gamut: Newsweek, Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Links, Travel + Leisure Golf**, GolfStyles, Golf World (hey, I've spotted a pattern!), Wired, Alumni magazines, Consumer Reports, Washington Checkbook, Business Week, Technology Review, MIT/Sloan Management Review, Washington Post Magazine, Bethesda, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food (I like to look at pictures of food!), Architectural Digest (I like to look at pictures of houses!), Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, and Sporting News (hey, another pattern!). Plus others.
Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not well-read.
I'm simply well-subscribed.
You see, I haven't actually read most of those magazines (but I will...).
The reason for my compulsion is obvious to me. I'm afraid of missing out on some vital, world-changing bit of information. You never know when you're going to find the key to self-actualization in Psychology Today or discover the perfect powerhouse anti-oxidant-laden miracle food in the pages of the Nutrition Action Healthletter. And I know (to a near certainty) that if I read enough golf magazines, I'll get my handicap down into the single digits*** (yo, watch out Tiger).
Even more compelling is the belief that, hiding somewhere in that teetering stack of glossy, beckoning pages, is the kernel of an idea for my next book (and boy, it's gonna be a bestseller). I am utterly convinced of this.
My affliction extends to newspapers, too (maybe more so--the information within can be very time-sensitive). When we go out of town, I don't stop delivery. Instead, I ask a neighbor to collect all my papers, so I can read them when I get home****. And when I return, I'm antsy until I plow through all of them. I mean, what if the secret to beating the bear market was in last Tuesday's Business section, and I missed it? How would I feel about that?
My family thinks I'm a little kooky about this. They've been encouraging me to make a trip to the recycling center to, uh, solve my problem*****. What do you think? Any suggestions to help me out?
And please, don't even ask about my skyscraper of books to-be-read. That makes my pile-o'-magazines look like an anthill!
*When my wife starts talking in ALL-CAPS, I start paying attention!
**I don't travel much, nor do I have any leisure time. Just wishful thinking.
***Yes, I probably have more than a hundred golf magazines waiting to be read, despite the fact I've only played a total of seven rounds in the past three years. Like I said, I have a problem.
*****I recycle all paper. You should too.
A BIG THANKS to Laura Lippman and G.M. Malliet for their terrific three-part interview in last week’s blog.