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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon

Pay As You Read

ď The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them: inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mend is filled with falsehood and errors.Ē
Thomas Jefferson.

You know when you need two screws but you are obliged to buy a packet of twelve? Or when the sitting-room clock battery needs replacing and you have to purchase a brace of them? Annoying isnít it?

Well, market forces do that kind of thing to me every day but especially on Sundays.

You see, newspaper magnates are biased against people like me. We have no interest in sport and lack the finances necessary for an interest in the Travel, Property and Finance sections of newspapers. Yet we are forced to purchase the complete newspaper while reading, maybe, only 25% of it.

In a restaurant if you donít take the side-salad you donít have to pay for it. When purchasing a loaf of bread in a Supermarket you are not compelled the buy a pound of butter as well. Although I will admit there is no refund when I leave the Yorkshire Pudding behind on the plate or refrain from using the shoddy Rawlplugs that come with flat-pack furniture.

As I write there is, peeping out of the bin at me, the Property section of a prestigious daily newspaper. It offers me a residence in Glenageary at 4.5 million Euro or a house to let near Laragh for a meagre 40,000 Euro a month.

Now, take a look at my mugshot at the head of this piece. Do I look like a potential customer for either of those? And the dog is sleeping on predictions of the outcome at Landsdowne Road next Sunday.

The dog is sleeping on some very sound financial advice.

With apologies to Edwin Way Teale, how many beautiful trees gave their lives so that me, and my likes, could fill the recycle bin with pictures of swimming pools in Barbados, Estate agentís descriptions of Ailsbury Road, a full page account or a row at the match between Rathnew and Tinahaley and the latest figures from Dow Jones?

All newspapers, Sunday, Daily and Provincial, have a section or sections in which I, and many more like me, do not have any interest.

I am suggesting to the Media magnates of the world that you introduce a pay-as-you-read system. That way those who only need the salacious accounts of the carry on of celebrity society will not have to pay for accounts of how a club footballer in Manorhamilton missed a free.

Which reminds meÖÖ I heard of a fellow who had a burning ambition to get his picture on page two of a tabloid newspaper. He reckoned that whenever someone closed the paper he would be in an agreeable position.

You know, I think Iím wasting my time. Nobody will pay any attention to me. Iíll have to go on buying a,largely, unwanted Wicklow People.

In the meantime someone sent me the following recipe for making a person feel uncomfortable. Harmless enough but an interesting exercise in Psychology.

We're all animals in a way and we all have our territory.

The next time you go out for a meal to a restaurant, watch your Friend as he "marks" his area at the table. He will touch all the objects within his "area" sorta of like a dog lifting his leg.

The movements are subconscious and subtle so pay attention. After he has establised his "area", take a drink of water and place the glass in his area. You will notice that eventually, he will move it out of his space. Be subtle, but everything you casually place inside the area he initially mapped out on the table, he will move out of his area. Eventually, he'll get a little peeved at you and he won't know why, but you'll see the change in his attitude toward you.

Try it.

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Reader Comments

Name: Mike Email:
Comment: Mattie, I love it! :) I fully agree with you about newspapers, although I don't buy them anymore unless I need something to start the fire with, or put down for the dog. 1-2 day old news simply doesn't interest me. If I want the news, I want it now, and I want it relevant to the minute. So I turn on the radio, or better yet, the internet. Why pay for yesterday's news? And as for annoyance exercise, I can certainly see what you're talking about. I must try it next time I am out... I wonder if it would be going too far to do it to someone at an adjacent table?



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