It is like a barber’s chair that fits all buttocks, the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn buttock, or any buttock.
Shakespere, once quoted by Robertson Davies in reference to newspapers.
"Miss? Would you like a free newspaper?" The man stood at a lectern labeled "Washington Post" right inside the door of my local supermarket.
"Uh, sure," I said, shifting my groceries around and evntually setting them down.
"I just have to write down a few things," The guy said, maintaining the polite fiction that I wasn't about to get a sales pitch. "How often do you buy the Washington Post?" He asked cheerily.
In this case, the most irreverent answer was the truthful one. To speak perfectly honestly, I should have said "Whenever my brothers' crimes make the Metro section. Otherwise, I read it online." But I didn't. I just said
"Oh, every once in awhile."
"Do you get another paper?"
"The Sunday New York Times."
The guy thought for a moment, then decided to try another tack.
"What's your favorite section of the Washington Post?"
"Op-Ed." I said.
His smile dimmed.
"And after that?"
"Probably the front page." (Though I get most of my world news from The Economist.)
"And after that?"
"Do you like coupons?"
"I don't really use them much. I never remember."
"How about the entertainment news?"
"Home and Garden."
At that point, he did probably the only thing he could do, which was to ignore my preferences entirely. He launched into a talk about how rather than just getting the Sunday NYT, I could get a full week of the Washington Post, with all the specialty sections I don't read. And I could pay less!
I gave my standard response to sales pitches, "Gee, I'd have to ask my husband" and he assured me that this deal was one day only.
I shrugged. "Oh well," I said.
And I walked away.
I didn't even get my paper.
I should have known the interaction wouldn't go well when he called me "Miss."