Paper Thief Piques Patron of the Printed Word

"Buy your own paper" sign

Most of us spend so much time in front of screens these days that newspapers are starting to seem downright quaint. Which is why this sign, spotted recently on Eugenia,  filled my heart with sadness and made me yearn for sunny Sundays of yore, when I would linger over the New York Times with a big mug of coffee.

Surely a Bernalwood denizen who is committed to carving out the time to get his or her fingers smudged on the Sunday Times — someone, moreover, who uses “whomever” correctly — (even if he or she, like this writer, needs to review the “whoever” vs. “whomever” rule) should not be deprived of this pleasure. It’s all the news that’s fit to print, not pilfer.

10 thoughts on “Paper Thief Piques Patron of the Printed Word

  1. When I was 13 years old I used to deliver the New York TImes in The Bronx, where I grew up. Had about 50 customers in 2 large hi-rise buildings to deliver the paper to, 7 mornings a week. A few months into the job, some of my customers started complaining that they weren’t receiving their sunday papers. My boss told me someone was probably following a few steps behind me, knew my route, and was stealing the papers to resell them. One of my customers who was an amateur photographer with his own darkroom (this was in 1980) offered to help catch the theif. So I arrived at his house extra early one sunday morning, and he tied fishing line around the fold of the paper, with the rest of it extending under the door and connected to a bell. He had his camera ready. As soon as someone took the paper, he opened the door and snapped the guy’s photo. Then he chased him down the hall and took some more. We called the cops and they went and arrested the guy!

  2. Perpetual urban problem. When I lived in an apartment building prior to Bernal, my paper would get stolen so frequently (and I’d call for redelivery) that the delivery person took to buzzing my door upon delivery to get the point across that the delivery was being made.

    We made attempts to get our paper-delivery person to slide our paper under our gate, out of reach of would-be thieves, but that met with delivery people throwing the paper at our gate so hard it would wake us up.

    It is almost as if the world has been suggesting that we need to re-think the physical distribution problem — oh, you mean paid web-subscriptions and tablet readers? Hm.

    Also regarding the old and new media: note how the person who is complaining of this theft is also receiving a Netflix delivery!

  3. Wait, important matter of grammar: isn’t it supposed to be “whoever” since there is a verb following it and the person stealing the paper is the actor in the sentence?

      • Actually, no, “whomever” is correct here. “Whomever” is an object, “whoever” is a subject. It’s like “I” versus “me” or “her” and “she.” It’s not about the verb that follows but the verb (or in this case the preposition) that precedes.

  4. I’m afraid SER is correct. Allow me to quote from my reference library…

    Words Into Type: “‘Whom’ is often misused for ‘who’ because of failure to realize that the relative pronoun is the subject of the following verb, not the object of the preceding preposition or verb; the whole relative clause is the object.”

    New York Times Manual of Style and Usage: [Talks about the trick where you substitute “he” for “who/whoever” and “him” for “whom/whomever,” and then] “Sometimes ‘whoever’ or ‘whomever’ will occur, confusingly, in a clause that is part of a larger sentence. In that case, disregard the overall sentence, and choose the pronoun according to its function inside the clause. ‘Give the book to whoever answers the door.’ (‘He’ or ‘she’ answers.) ‘Hand the package to whomever you see first.’ (You see ‘her’ or ‘him.’)”

    • I was confused about this for years (possibly decades) despite considering myself something of a grammarian, and I only got confirmation about a year or so ago after availing myself of the resources on the newfangled “Internet.”

Comments are closed.