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Rich Simons | Upper East 11th Street


Every month, Rich Simons answers readers’ most perplexing questions.  Photo illustration Art Olson.
   Click to enlarge.

Q: Recently I became distraught when I realized I had not received my August edition of the Sandpiper. I always look forward to it arriving early each month (and of course I turn immediately to your column!) Can you please tell me why my August edition didn’t arrive? Was I supposed to send someone some money? – d.c.

Rest assured, dear reader, that you are not alone. We have received many enquiries from other concerned citizens, and you all deserve to know the truth, so here goes:

The title of this sordid episode in the otherwise pristine history of the Sandpiper might be “A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing” because what happened was: although we Ink Stained Wretches (hereinafter “ISWs”), who ceaselessly pound out copy for the Sandpiper, knew that our counterparts at equivalent periodicals (e.g. – The NewYorker, Atlantic, Harper’s) were “remunerated,” we didn’t know what that meant! Until one of our ilk, a few months past, while working on the Sunday crossword puzzle, discovered it meant they got PAID! I repeat (for emphasis) – PAID!

Well, we thought, the Sandpiper Management will certainly be interested in THIS. But much to our surprise, Management was strangely unexcited. Soooo . . . what should we do, to get their attention? As it turns out, one of our ISWs had some familiarity with that thing they call the “Internet” and he pulled up out of it a manual titled “Labour Strategies for the Modern Era,” published around 1917, which suggested that an effective way to get the attention of management is to have a thing called a STRIKE.

So we STRUCK, which if truth be told turned out to be one of the finest times of our lives. Because it turns out that STRIKING means you really don’t have to do NUTHIN’! Oh, you can march around waving placards and such, but you don’t hafta! So heck. We just lounged around at Zel’s every day sampling their very fine collection of bourbon whiskeys, playing whist and debating the appropriate thickness of the french fried potato (the optimal diameter for a french fry, measured at its midpoint, is 3 mm.).

Sadly, our idylls did not last long. In a matter of weeks Sandpiper Executives offered what the manual called “concessions,” which seems to mean things that we are now allowed to get away with that we didn’t usta. Like we can drink from any of the public wáter fountains in town, and park anywhere it is not specifically prohibited. And we can attend the summer concerts in the park just so long as we are willing to line up at dawn to secure a spot, just like everyone else.

Well, we had hoped for more, like maybe they would partly cover our bar tab, but figured what the heck, it was a start and a good precedent and maybe we could up the ante next year, if you get my drift. So here we are now, back to pounding out the palabras. But come next August, if your Sandpiper doesn’t arrive, you’ll know why (it is possible that the Sandpiper will refuse to print this article in which case there ARE other periodicals. I am thinking maybe Reader’s Digest? ).



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