Every morning I engage in a ritual on the verge of extinction. I walk outside and bring in the morning newspaper.
There was a time when every house on both sides of the street had a newspaper in the driveway. Of course, there was also a time when every house had a landline, too. But not anymore. Not in a long time.
The husband takes the demise of print edition newspapers particularly hard as he worked his entire career in newspapers. He started when he was 16. Before that he was what you would call an independent publisher. He received a small typesetting kit with a hand-cranked press as a child and printed a family newsletter.
Circulation never passed two dozen or so, but it kept him entertained and on a career path. His most popular editions were the ones where he wrote about his older sister’s dates. Guess who was the first one to unsubscribe?
We were at a busy park recently where kids were swarming like bees. The husband had a newspaper he had been reading folded under his arm. He sat down and put the paper on the bench beside him when a girl about nine walked over, looked at the newspaper, picked it up and asked, "What’s this?"
I thought the man was going to croak on the spot. The colour drained out of his face, his eyes rolled back in his head and it looked like his legs were giving out. I rolled up his paper and gently rapped him on the head with it.
He was still swooning, so I waved the paper under his nose.
The fumes from the ink immediately rallied him.
Some people simply like paper — the feel, the portability, the pleasure of old news and last week’s weather forecast at your fingertips, not to mention the pleasure of stacking them higher and higher on a chair until your wife cries, "Enough!"
He still touts the benefits of print, often citing Exhibit A — our youngest daughter and son-in-law. When they lived with us, they raced to pull the crossword puzzle from the paper every day. The man has a point. It’s hard to do a crossword online. Pencil doesn’t come off a computer screen as easily as you might think.
And now the husband will be thrilled that I have found an Exhibit B as proof print may still have life. More rare than a manatee, Amur leopard or Panda bear, I have been in contact with a young, married mother of four who subscribes to the daily newspaper in print.
I asked why and she was shocked.
"Because it’s print!" she said. "I love print. When the paper didn’t come one day, I called the main number to let them know and the lady said, ‘Why don’t you just subscribe to the online version?’"
She shook her head in disbelief.
The husband will be so thrilled he may write her into the will. I’ll help. We can name her beneficiary of all our stacks of old newspapers. I think she’ll be thrilled.
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