The New York City newspaper strike is starting to take its toll on the Big Apple. You can see it in people's bank expressions and hear it in their desperate voices.
When someone hears you're from out of town, the first question he or she asks is, "What's going on?"
"Nixon resigned and is no longer president," I told one poor soul.
"No!" he said. "And he seemed to be doing so well with China."
Howard Hughes passed away in his sleep."
"It's hard to believe," my friend said. "He seemed like such a young vital person."
"Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton split up."
"Now that's one I didn't hear. How are Sonny and Cher doing?"
"They split too."
"What are people reading these days?"
"Books about jogging."
"What happened to 'Gone With the Wind?"
"It's off the best-seller lists and so is 'Forever Amber.'"
"I guess that means they'll be coming out in paperback," he said. "Tell me how are the Brooklyn Dodgers doing?"
"You didn't hear? They're moved to Los Angeles."
"No wonder I can't get their games on radio. Is Ted Williams still playing for the Red Sox?"
"No, he retired. So did Joe Dimaggio."
"I'll be damned - the two best hitters in the American League."
But the Yankees are doing well."
"Why shouldn't they with Yogi Berra as their manager?"
"He's not their manager any more. Lots of things have happened since the newspapers went on strike. We have a new pope."
"Poor Pope John."
"There was another pope since John. He was Pope Paul."
Boy, you really get out of touch in this city. Did John Glenn ever get to the moon?"
"No, but three other guys did. John Glenn is now a senator from Ohio."
"I guess I have a lot of catching up to do." he said. "How's Jimmy Hoffa?"
I didn't have the heart to tell him.
Not everyone in New York is without a newspaper. Many desperate souls are buying out-of-town papers from as far away as Washington. D. C., Philadelphia and Boston. You would think this would fill the news gap, but these people are more confused than those who have no papers at all.
One lady who gets The Philadelphia Bulletin every day said to me, "If someone doesn't fill these potholes on 63rd Street. I'm going to march down to city hall and give Mayor Rizzo a piece of of my mind."
"Rizzo isn't your mayor," I told her. "Koch is."
"Don't kid me," she replied. "I read the papers every day."
Another pal who gets The Boston Globe every morning said, "If we don't get some tax relief in this city soom I'm going to write to my senator. Teddy Kennedy, and tell him he better not ask for my vote in 1982."
"Teddy's not your senator," I told him. "Javits and Moynihan represent New York."
"Then how come you never read about them?" he wanted to know.
A sports fanatic who has been reading The Washington Post for more than a month has suddenly become a Redskins football fan.
"Don't you feel disloyal to the New York Giants team?" I asked him.
"Why should I when they moved to San Francisco?"