Take a newspaper

“Would you like a newspaper?” is a question I ask once a month to my teachers and peers. It’s requires a simple yes or no response, but you would be very surprised by the types of answers I receive.

The first, and my personal favorite response, is “yes”. When people take a paper and thank me for it, it means a lot. Not only is it polite to take a newspaper, but it’s very considerate. The staff of the Black and White work for an entire month on these papers. No one is forcing you to read it. Give it a try and if you don’t find anything you like, go ahead and recycle it.

Now if you really don’t feel like taking a chance on the Black and White, the correct response is “no thank you”. If someone is offering you something that they’ve spent a lot of time creating, and you don’t want it, look them in the eye and politely refuse their offer. I don’t mind this response at all. It is completely understandable to not take a paper if you know you won’t read it. So if you don’t like to read, or don’t have the time, kindly refuse and the staff will try not to take it too personally.

One thing I will take quite personally, is the only response that fills me with a white, hot rage; no response at all.

Let me paint a picture for you. I am standing in front of the doors to the cafeteria. With a big smile on my face, I hold out a free paper to a student.

Now the student makes eye contact with me, which turns into him staring silently at me with a look of fear and disgust.

I’m still holding out the paper as he proceeds to walk past me.

He didn’t say a single word to me.

This is a true and recurring story, yet it continues to blow my mind. How could someone look me in the eye, and then just walk away without saying a word?

I understand that the people who come up to me and personally ask for a newspaper are a rare breed. I know that a lot of the time when people say they already have a paper they are lying to me. I have been able to turn a lot of people’s responses from no’s into yes’s because I believe in the Black and White and know that people will enjoy it.

But one thing I have absolutely no control over, is the way someone responds to the question, “Would you like a newspaper?” So I’m hoping that you take my advice and apply it to every question that you will ever be asked in the future. There are right answers to questions and wrong answers to questions, but any answer is better than no answer at all, unless you’re taking the SAT. So take a paper or leave it, but do not fail to acknowledge your peers and students when they offer you their work.

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