Anyway, as Ms. O’Connor surely understood from her close reading of our posting, we were not moved to throw down on The Good Life until we noticed so many copies still lying on our neighbors’ lawns late Monday afternoon, which by that time had been turned to gelatinous wads of newsprint mush by the heavy rains, thus rendering them extremely difficult to read (although we fully understanding that “reading” The Good Life is not the point of The Good Life). After many minutes of pleasant exchanges with Mr. O’Connor––we hate to be so formal, but for some unexplained reason Ms. O’Connor refused our request that she tell us how to say her first name, and we’d feel uncomfortable referring to her in print by a name that we might mispronounce aloud––we established, solely on what we believe to be Ms. O’Connor’s good word, that a story we may have suggested was in the yard-pitched non-subscriber copies of The Good Life, a story having something to do with vacationing in Aspen (which we cited, among others, to suggest that the newspaper’s marketeers were overshooting the demo in our zip code), appeared only in copies of The Good Life that were tucked into subscribers’ home-delivered Chronicles. (Are you hanging with us here?) After more pleasant repartee with the deputy managing editor/features, we further established––again, based on Ms. O’Connor’s good word, as we still have not screwed up the courage to steal a sodden week-old copy of The Good Life, although many are still available hereabouts––that the other two stories we cited, having to do (we think) with Creole cookin’ and Parisian couture––were indeed in both (that is, presumably, all) versions of The Good Life, subscriber and non-subscriber.
Also on Mr. O’Connor’s short bill of non-particulars was the allegation that we somehow had mischaracterized the commercial imperative behind The Good Life by suggesting that this episode of legalized littering apparently was meant to spur subscription sales.* In retrospect we see how stupid this conjecture of ours was, because obviously the last thing a daily newspaper needs these days is more paying subscribers. (What The Good Life is aiming to do, you see––and once again we rely solely on Ms. O’Connor’s expert testimony.––is simply to serve as a much-needed vehicle for the delivery of ad content to non-subscribers. Pure genius, no?) Additionally, Ms. O’Connor seemed disturbed, or pretended to seem disturbed, by our jesting suggestion that The Good Life had been hand-delivered by Chronicle publisher Smilin’ Jack Sweeney, although after some moments of intense palavering we believe we were able to wring from her the admission that she well-knew we were only playin’.
Ms. O’Connor had a whole lot else to say, most of which we did not commit to memory because it did not seem at all relevant to the matters at hand, although we do recall her bald and somewhat unscientific assertion that, and we quote, “Your blog is crap.” We took exception to the declaration but did not argue the point at length, since it is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. (Mrs. O’Connor at one point also mocked, or tried to mock, our vocal mannerisms, which we sort of let pass because we were multitasking at the moment; we did, however, verify the attempted mimicry by asking whether she was “mocking” us, to which she replied: “Yes, I’m mocking you.”)
The deputy managing editor/features seemed overly het-up about the entire matter, which had the effect, perhaps the intended effect, of making us equally het-up and forcing us to retreat from our backyard to the interior of our domicile so as not to disturb our neighbors with the increased volume (we’re thoughtful that way). Oh yeah, we almost forgot: To illustrate the egalitarian impulse behind the standalone yard-pitched version of The Good Life, Ms. O’Connor informed us, possibly with a straight face, that a big story in the upcoming edition had something to do with a “$7.99 ring you can buy at Target.” To our joshing query as to whether Target had “paid” for the story Ms. O’Connor seemed to take serious umbrage, and later, in reeling off a long list of our various sins of commission and omission, she claimed that we had accused her, personally, of taking a “bribe” from Target. (After sobering up, however, it seems clearer to us that the pimping of a purchase, no matter how small, from a major advertiser is––and we’re being polite here––a tad unsavory and possibly in contravention of the ethical standards of Sigma Delta Chi, if not the Geneva Convention.)
Alas, the conversation, after not advancing especially far, reached an impasse, with Ms. O’Connor accusing us of a (her word) “Birther”-like solipsism (our word) for our steadfast refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing or malfeasance. Mrs. O’Connor, whose own solipsism rivals that of our sitting governor––and we hope she understands what we mean here, and it’s not altogether a bad thing––remained similarly unyielding in her professed belief that The Good Life is NOT mere crap and that a story on a “$7.99 ring you can buy from Target” rises to the level of “journalism,” broadly defined.
We do, though, occasionally acknowledge the validity of others’ realities, in addition to being an open-minded and big-hearted sort, so very early this morning we gave The Good Life another shot, reading (sort of but not really) not only the one in our home-delivered edition but discreetly “borrowing” one from a slumbering neighbor’s yard under cover of darkness (which we’re returning shortly, FYI). Here’s what we found:
Our 8-page Good Life: Two travel stories on Big Sur and snuba-ing in Honduras not in our neighbors’ dowdy downscale edition, as well as a tout for some beer from Southern Star Brewing Co. of Conroe (at least it’s local, but, hey, did they pay for that?) and some personal-fitness shinola.Sad to say, but we must conclude, oh-so-predictably, that The Good Life, in however many permutations it may be available in our expanding universe, is still crap. Yet we hope this fact-opinion, empirically verifiable though it may be, will not present an obstacle to our remaining a fast and loyal Facebook buddy of Ms. O’Conner, and she of us, until this good life draws to its inevitable close.
Our purloined 6-page Good Life: All, or most all, of the rest of the schizz in the subscriber-only version, plus a Parade magazine, several ad inserts (coupons!) and––check it out––a very large advertisement for Carter's Country, where one of those Glock Model 27s can still be had for only $559.97 (maybe the Chronicle's better at the demographic fine-tuning than we thought). Cover "story" is “Hello Sailor!”, which, contrary to the headline suggestion, is not about port-side prostitution but enjoins readers to “Get nautical this spring with stripes that will take you to the yacht club” (for your job clearing tables, we guess). This appears to be the story involving the $7.99 ring from Target of which Ms. O’Connor pridefully spoke.
As for The Good Life, the newspaper section: We predict its end will be coming within the month, two at the outside. But we could be wrong!
*After posting this entry, which surely will be a finalist in the Pulitzer competition for Superior Blogurbatin', we were returning the contents of The Good Life sandwich bag for re-delivery when we noticed that it included a flier offering "complete Sunday Chronicle delivered for $1.00 a week!" Ms. O'Connor stands corrected.