I checked my replica “Pruett’s Pig Powders” thermometer on my way to Joe’s Café & Coffee (Pretty Good Food & Great Coffee) to meet with the remaining Codgers. It informed me the temperature this fine Tuesday morning on the West End of Old Saint Paul was a seasonal +20ºF, and I estimated the wind to be out of NNW at, oh roughly 13mph, making it feel like +7ºF on my partially beard-covered face.
Proud Czech Josef Rusicka, owner and operator of Joe’s was ready for my arrival with a carafe of hot and freshly brewed organically & shade-grown, Fair Trade, Guatemalan-Roast coffee to assist in convincing my brain to begin to fire on all remaining synapses.
My ancient friends, Carl McIntyre (Command Sergeant-Major US Army, retired) and Fred Jaworski (30 year career teacher, retired), were as usual already there, and their synapses already at full synapt capacity—having consumed a sufficient amount of coffee to reach that end.
Fred, who appeared to be in high-dudgeon as he held his ever-present hard copy of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, exclaimed to me as I walked over, “Lookit this!”
“It’s the morning paper,” I replied, and then added, “What this time? The current allegations of Senator McCain’s ethical lapses with a female lobbyist?”
“No, not that.”
“Okaaay,” I continued, “I know—commentary on Senator Clinton’s going negative?”
“No, not that either!” Fred replied, growing even more agitated.
“No? OK,” I said after a sip of my fine coffee, “Maybeee, Senator Obama’s wearing of traditional garb during a visit to Africa in ‘06? That seems to be causing a stir with the wing-nuts.”
“NO!” Fred exclaimed with some agitation-induced vigor. “Not that either! They…they…”
“…changed the size of the paper,” Carl rumbled, interrupting the sputtering Fred, “It’s narrower. The print is the same size, they just changed the size to save paper.”
“Gee—I hadn’t noticed,” I laughed, “It looked the same to me this morning.”
“You read the paper on-line!” Fred accused, correctly, “you don’t appreciate the tactile aspect of news consumption.”
“Fred just doesn’t like change, much,” Carl concluded, “he hasn’t gotten past the size yet—he’s not even read the thing yet.”
“Doesn’t like change in his cage?” I asked.
“He’s old,” Carl rumbled, smiling very wide, indeed, “very, very old.”
“You’re older than he is.”
“Oh keep still Carl!” an exasperated Fred admonished, now laughing, “Let me mourn in peace.”