a matter of timing

Working at the News-Times has ruined my sense of time. My first day I was handed a stack of daily horoscopes, Dear Abby and syndicated editorials to enter into the computer for future use. A fog of time uncertainty began to descend. On Mondays, all the horoscopes and Abbys are dated for the next Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but the editorials are labeled for Tuesday or Wednesday. A couple times a day I take all the bits and pieces of paper, envelopes and cardboard on which people submit birthdays and anniversaries and write them down into a notebook. At least that’s what I do with the ones that have a name and phone number. The rest? Well, I still see yet another date, but those I drop into a folder labeled “no number, no publish: To hold a few days.
Before I leave I have to enter the next day’s “Have a happy.” For instance take today the 9th. Today, I enter the 10th’s birthday and anniversaries. I will walk out the door thinking today is tomorrow, the 10th. Except that is if today were Friday the 10th. Then I would enter in all the birthdays and anniversaries for the weekend and Monday papers and walk out wondering why the weekends go by so quickly.
Might not be so bad, but throughout the day, I type up community news. That means that September I am typing stories about students who attended summer cheerleader and basketball camps, babies born in August and sailors who left in late July for a six-month tour that will end in January.
Fortunately, there is a limited time frame for weddings and anniversaries. However, I still have weeks when I alternate write-ups of late all weddings with write-ups of bridesmaids carrying holly and red candles. A few families send their write-up a week or so before he wedding, asking that it be published the weekend of the wedding. Which means that on Tuesday, the 10th. I will write in the past tense about a wedding that took place on the 14th.
Just when I learned to live with all those switches in time and tense. I took off my summer break. I came back to an additional job: Research and write “On This Date” columns for the editorial page.
In mid-August 1996. I began reading newspapers from August and September 1926, 1946, 1966, 1986 several days and weeks ahead of the day’s dates. By the end of the first week. I had no idea what week it was, let alone which day.
After reading four versions of preparations for the county fair winners of the Miss Union County contest and talent show, I was sure I had missed the Union County Fair, but no, it has yet to happen this year. I will know that as soon as I put away the old newspapers for October and look at the daily calendar on my desk. Ahh, yes, hat’s what today is, Sept. 9.
Well, sort of. I had to have the column submitted to the editor by noon Wednesday, Sept. 4, 1996. Have a good though, whatever day or year it is.