Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ink and paper cuts

There is a near death on the horizon. It is sad as with any death that one must change their course and deal with it the best way one can. I speak of the impending demise of the newspaper. The newspaper you say? Too many of them you say? Old news you say? Perhaps.

America is deeply rooted in the fourth estate. Even the constitution provides for a free press unencumbered by the state. That of course is much broader than the current topic. I simply refer to the newspaper. It is ink on paper, smudgy and a little late. But it is how we have received our view of the world for the better part of my life (except for Walter Cronkite). My brothers and I all go back to having the first universal paying job of being a paperboy. We hopped on our bikes, jumped in the car, had our father drive us on Sunday before mass, all to deliver the paper.

I remember sitting in a shack after school, I think it was painted green, with North of 50 waiting on the paper truck to deliver our load. It would finally arrive and we would unload the truck, sort and count, pack up and go to our routes. Some had big satchels for carrying and walking from house to house, the canvass cutting into your shoulder. The only relief was as each paper was removed the load got lighter until you returned to your bike to load up again.

The internet and television are the two primary causes. The world now-a-days wants everything now, the news, emails, sports scores etc. Most can't wait for the paper tomorrow. I fully understand. The papers have been slow to embrace new technology or shed their old ways. I for one will miss them. Listening to the news on a breaking event is natural. You want to know what's going on.

I have tried periodically to have the web be my newspaper but it just isn't the same. It is hard to curl up with a good monitor in your chair. I prefer to spread the paper out on the counter or the dinner table and turn, page by page, scanning each sheet looking for something to catch my interest. A hot cup of joe only makes the moment more enjoyable. Whether it is an early summer day or winter's morning, a steaming brew just makes it. You can feel the rawness of the rag between your fingers. Often only the lick of a finger means the page can be turned. Not all of them will go away but many will and I will be there to say goodbye with a saddened tone.


  1. Never did the cup a joe, but I am one who still needs to have the actual newspaper in the morning along with my brekkie. Scan the front page, run through the local news, read the comics and the sports, and save the jumble, crosswords, cryptoquote and sudoku for the evening.

    Actually, Beautiful Wife does the sudoku, and we collaborate on the others.

    I had the world's easiest paper route; two inside hallway apartment buildings; great in the winter.

    On Sundays, if I had a customer who was late paying me, the heavy Sunday paper would mysteriously bang against their door at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m.

    Good memories!

  2. Let's hear it for the CJ! Let's face it, there aren't many kids today who can read a newspaper upside down while waiting for their Dad to finish a section - nobody got any part of the paper until Dad was finished with it!