I was printed on the evening of November 27th, 2008, just as the weather was turning from chilly to cold. I was tomorrow's news. At the moment I came off the press, I told the future. I knew things before the rest of the world; it was wonderful. I knew what my purpose was: to inform as many people as possible about the world's happenings.
As I was put to bed, bound against my brothers and sisters, I dreamt of being passed around a construction site, making sure all the workers were aware of which sports team triumphed, and which celebrity was getting a divorce. I dreamt that corporate peons debated over politics, and the state of the economy and which policies would be most effective in fixing the existing problems. I slept contently, snuggled warm in the middle of a stack, ready to be shipped out the next day and sold to whoever wanted me.
The next morning was cold and blustery. I was so excited about being sold that I allowed the wind to ruffle my pages, since I couldn't move on my own. I had been shipped to a newsstand on some random avenue; I didn't get a chance to see the street sign. The owner of the stand kept my stack on the pavement just out front so that his customers could pick my siblings and I up easier.
We were there early in the morning so that we could be sold for as long as possible. There were many people passing by on foot, and several stopped to buy a paper. It didn't take long for me to reach the top of the pile, but it seemed like forever. Once I was able to see, the street had cleared.
Where had all the people gone? How long was I going to sit here at the top, waiting desperately for someone to come and buy me? I waited for hours. I counted each minute as it ticked by. Finally, someone strolled up to the stand. He was well-dressed and he seemed in no hurry. Although by now, I figured that most people would have been late to work.
He was extremely well dressed and carried a briefcase. He seemed like a typical businessman, and as he exchanged small talk with the owner of the stand, I imagined what my fate would be.
As he picked me up and went on his way, I read the gold plate on his suitcase. He was a CEO, but I didn't see what company; I knew he was obviously a very important man. We descended into the subway and he flipped through my pages, not really pausing to read anything, just looking at the titles of my articles. He paused once, to read a name I think, and then he kept going.
He had flipped through me in my entirety by the time we had gotten off the subway. When we were back on the surface, he sighed tiredly and dropped me in a trashcan on a corner.
I couldn't believe it. I had dreamed of everything, but this wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare. All my aspirations: dead. No one else would read me. No one else had even read me to begin with. The man had merely skimmed me. I felt useless, and all I could do was stare up at the sky, watching the clouds pass.
But then something happened that I didn't expect. Someone picked me up; he folded me so that I couldn't see anything, just darkness. When we stopped moving, he unfolded me. Compared to the well-dressed man, this man was hideous in every imaginable way. His grizzled hair and beard was graying, and it formed a mane that framed his weatherworn face. His mouth formed a smile, despite his circumstances. He was missing several teeth and his clothes were little more than rags.
He read me cover to cover. Not just once, either. He read me twice, three times, four times. I lost count eventually. When I was as thumbed-through as I could get, he still didn't discard me. He opened me up, making me feel a bit vulnerable, and added me to a pile of other forgotten papers he had. He used us as a blanket.
To be with my brothers and sisters again after being so easily discarded felt right. This man was my savior. He found a use for old news, and kept us until we fell apart, even though we only had only the information we were printed with to share with him each day. And he read all of us everyday, as if we were the end-all-be-all of global updates.
The man, the glorious, kind, frumpy man gave my life meaning. He was the sole source of happiness in my life. And when I died, I died knowing that I had been more useful to him than I could have been to anyone else.