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  • Fragments, Part II

    I became a reporter because it combined three things I enjoy: talking to people, learning what makes them tick, and turning their stories into something for posterity (or, in the pre-Internet era, at least the bottom of someone’s bird cage). I became an editor to make a living wage, or something resembling that.

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    Technology has replaced the automobile — and to an extent, the college textbook — as the most expensive disposable in our lives. Remember when it was said that you lost 30 to 50 percent of a new car’s value the moment you drove it off the lot? The same goes for every new device you buy. The moment you pull it out of the box, something newer and better is replacing it on the store shelves.

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    With four children having birthdays in the month of December, you could say God’s master plan was for me to emulate Him. Or, you could also say that He just has a wicked sense of humor.

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    Another car/technology analogy: I’ve gotten five to seven years out of the last two desktops we’ve had in our house. By the time each was replaced, the reason was because they each had more than 200,000 miles on them, parts could be found only in junkyards, and the only way you could get them to run was if you slapped the top with your right hand on alternate Tuesdays.

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    Ben’s life in New York is, for the most part, confined to a 20-block radius from 34th to 54th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue. Rarely a day goes by in which he doesn’t bump into someone he knows. I never thought I would say this, but there are times when Midtown feels like a small town, albeit with a huge amusement park in the middle.

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    Another December observation: Between the birthdays and Christmas, I have to wonder what fates I tempted to have 11/12ths of the family’s annual expenses come during a single 2½ week timeframe. (I exaggerate on the expenses part, but only slightly.)