Have you ever picked up a publication in someone’s waiting room – the optometrist’s or the lobby of the State Grain Board for instance – and wondered at it? Viewed it with an increasing perplexity as you turned the pages and watched the normal usage of the English language dissolve before your eyes? Clutched at your temple as you reeled from the horror of it all?
I do this all the time. Oh, I don’t have all that much call for the Grain Board, but I have waited on a good share of dentists, opticians, DMV’s, and lawyers in my time and been confronted with the same sorts of thing; wildly, fantastically, corruscatingly inappropriate literature.
I have read a pig breeder’s monthly at the opticians, two decade-old Women’s Weekly magazines at the dentist, and a political pamphlet from the New Era book store at the DMV. My barber has Men’s Health magazines stacked up high enough to hurt you if they fell over. No-one seems to care.
My own surgery all those years ago had fresh woman’s magazines each week for the fresh women, mens magazines for the men, and Dell and Disney comic books for the kids. We prided ourselves on it and we read them all first.
It was good sense as well as good business. People waiting for a dentist are never feeling very chipper anyway and having to look at old National Geographics with all the tit pictures removed would just make it worse. People might have had to wait extra time while the nurse washed the floors before they clotted and that just makes them crankier. Far better to spend $ 25 a week on fresh distraction. We never regretted the fresh magazines, and the following week they could be used to wipe the walls.