News cares about the famous, the newsworthy, the just plain worthy. But what makes a person’s profile worthy? It’s obvious: beauty, money, celebrity. Profiles – high ones especially – sell papers, magazines, television. No secrets there. These golden profiles feed our entertainment hungry world; a world that worships superstardom, names, brands. But is there any value in these profiles besides monetary? A short-term entertainment fix. A juicy piece of gossip: marriage, divorce, children, affairs. A tip about diet or exercise or how to look and live and breathe like what’s-her-name. You know the profiles.
But what about all the unwritten ones – the millions of worthy people whose stories haven’t been told, and probably never will be? The man who sits on his front doorstep and greets passersby. The pony-tailed woman who makes your coffee every morning and remembers your order, soy latte. The young boy who scans your dinner ingredients at the supermarket three evenings each week and asks what you’re cooking. The lonely man in the brown coat who walks up and down the main road, smoking, leftward-posture. What about those profiles? Do they matter any less? They won’t sell papers, they won’t change the world. But aren’t they worthy of being written?
This is the unwritten profile of the man at Journal Café.
He’s there every day, as far as you know. He sits at the low share-table closest to the big sliding door, always at the bottom left-hand corner. Today he wears navy pants, a blue polar-fleece jumper and perfectly clean white sneakers. He is physically and intellectually disabled, moving slowly, always smiling. He doesn’t speak words, but greets the waitstaff with a crooked nod of the head. They return greetings without using a name, placing a glass of water and today’s newspaper on the table before him. It is a familiar, comfortable routine, and you wonder how, when, it started. He doesn’t drink coffee. He sits for hours, turning a page of the paper rarely. He doesn’t look at it. He looks all around fascinated, never staring. He is there when you get there, still there when you leave. Where he comes and goes, you don’t know – and nor will you find out. He is happy, and the café is happy to have him. He’ll be back tomorrow morning, still smiling, and you’ll be glad to see him.
Unwritten, but not unworthy.