no news

A good friend of mine , Joe , sent me an email yesterday . It was a newsletter from the college where he got his master’s degree . ” Scroll down ,” he wrote ; so I did . I expected to see , maybe , an article about Joe or at least a picture of him , maybe in the background . Incidental . Who knows, I thought , maybe a short article about him : Graduate Makes Good . But I didn’t see anything .

I was reading the L.A.Times today . There were at least a couple of long articles about people complaining about their prospects for retirement . Not that they shouldn’t . It’s just that to me that’s not news .So you’re not saving enough to outdo rising inflation or rising prices on just about everything ? Sorry , but I don’t want to spend my retirement time expecting news but instead reading about your particular idiosyncratic retirement concerns . But good luck anyway !

My friend Bill , the surveyor , is 77 years old and still working and not because he has to . He was telling me that he didn’t have much work last week and he’s a little concerned about it . He’s worried that the whole economy is going into a slump and he won’t have much work in the coming year. I suggested that he quit working . Just an idea . He has enough money . He agreed that yes he has enough money . Always saved more that he made each month , he said . Likes to dabble in the stock market ; owns a lot of stocks. I pointed out to him that he does not live extravagantly . So what’s the problem !

I think I’ll be seeing a follow-up article about Bill in the L.A Times , about how this guy named Bill is worried about the future of the economy and wonders if he has enough money set aside to withstand retirement . I won’t read it , though , even if it’s about someone I know . It’s not news .

Ain’t a newspaper ‘sposed to have news ? Not enough reporters these days , I think , to go out and report , so we get these unwieldy expatiations about what so-and-so thinks about this -or-that . No one has to go too far from their phone or laptop to come up with this sort of “news”. We’ll all recycle information from the internet and be satisfied . So , by the way , what do you think about this or that ?

So I gave up the newspaper for the moment and scrolled down the newsletter sent to me by my friend Joe . I still expected to see something about him in there . Maybe at least a short article along the lines of ” Graduate Makes Good ” , or at least a photo with his image incidentally in the background . Something .

Instead I noticed a short obituary of a man who had been a student of mine in the 1970s . He had been Joe’s student too . Way back when . He passed away recently .

That’s news .

I remembered the boy , back when he was a fifth grader . Joe taught him in the 6th grade . Joe taught his older sister , too , and I had one of his younger brothers a couple of years later . I remember his parents , too . Nice people . They respected me and liked me , too , I think . I couldn’t say that of many parents of my students in later years .

Joe , who remembers the former student well too said , ” I don’t know these people ,” since our memories relate to people , places , times , and events that happened almost fifty years ago ; but we exchanged fond memories over the phone about what happened with those people so long ago .

As an old retired teacher , I revel in the knowledge that one of my students made it , made a good life for himself , and finally cashed out with dignity albeit somewhat early . What I know I know from the brief obituary that Joe passed along to me . I hope that all of my former students make it through life with respect , love , and purpose , and I always like to hear about it when that happens . Of course , as Joe says , ” I don’t know these people .”

What’s that old saying ? No news is good news ? Give me some good news . How about that !


Filed under humor

6 responses to “no news

  1. GP

    Newspapers? I already gave up on my evening news having any news! lol
    luck to your friend, Joe.

  2. I spend a lot of time looking for the news in the newspaper. My favorite subjects are the survey results and research results that say things like, “people are speeding more”, “accidents are on the rise.” “People are worried about this and that.” I always wonder why we needed a survey or a study, but I guess it keeps someone employed. A place to spend my tax dollars.

    I hope you have a good week WCD.

  3. Interesting article in Oct 10 New Yorker on “continuity of self.” It’s not that “I don’t know these people.” I do. And in fact feel for them these many years later. What I don’t know is if they are the same people I knew 50 years ago. And that is the question TNY article asks. From the article:
    “Are we the same people at four that we will be at twenty-four, forty-four, or seventy-four? Or will we change substantially through time? Is the fix already in, or will our stories have surprising twists and turns? Some people feel that they’ve altered profoundly through the years, and to them the past seems like a foreign country, characterized by peculiar customs, values, and tastes. (Those boyfriends! That music! Those outfits!) But others have a strong sense of connection with their younger selves, and for them the past remains a home.” How the folks at home may feel about that, that’s what I don’t know. Here is a link to TNY article:

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