Tag Archives: nostalgia

Where Have All the Papers Gone…

When I was a kid, there were these things called newspapers. They were actually made of paper.

My dad and I used to ride our bikes to the corner store every Sunday and pick up a copy of the Daily Press, and maybe a dozen donuts. When we got home, I would grab the Comics, the Opinion pages, and sometimes the Arts & Events pages, while Pop would read the A section, the Weather, and the Classifieds. The paper was so big, and I was so small, that I would lay on the floor and hold up the paper with both hands and both feet. I both loved and hated the way the newsprint felt on my fingertips.

Years later, when I wrote for the Jackrabbit Journal, our high school’s lofty monthly, I came to love the smell of the paper, and the slippery, black state of my hands after delivering the finished product around campus. The writing was mediocre and the editing was a little sloppy (one of my articles, which happened to be on the subject of teen suicide, accidentally got published in multiple issues and led to my having to endure multiple counseling sessions), but the Paper was the Paper. It was alive, and I loved it. Being able to see and feel and smell the publication I helped create was far more rewarding than simply seeing my little byline. It was ultimately more fulfilling than seeing my writing on a Google search page.

Two days ago the New York Times announced the impending closure of the 137-year-old Boston Globe, only one of many papers to recently succumb to the weak economy. Two months ago the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, one of my old favorites, became online-only, and it looks as though many great papers and journals, even a few glossies, are following suit. So, the writers are still around, the publication’s personality still evident, but will the Sunday Paper Experience ever be the same? Will our children grow up wondering why in the world news websites are called “papers?” We will always have the news, but who can help but miss the paper… the real, live, pulp-based, lignin-filled paper?

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Eleven Days

I got off the boat eleven days ago. I worked there for $40 a day.

Today I found a 9-6 receptionist job for $15 an hour. With an hour for lunch, this boils down to $120 to sit in an office all day and be nice to people. I can do that. In fact, I’ve done it before. I’ve counted on those hour-long lunch breaks to get my reading, studying, and even exercise done.

That seems like a different world.

For the past year, I have spent at least six days per week at work, at an average of fourteen hours per day. I was actually very excited to find a job in my field that paid $40 a day! These were labor-filled days. Keeping up the boat demanded heavy lifting, climbing, cleaning, hauling, painting, sanding, teaching, and in all kinds of weather and all kinds of conditions. Some days the students were screaming because there was water washing over the deck and they couldn’t keep themselves upright. Some days were so hot and still I couldn’t even get them excited about petting fish.

Eleven days… off the boat for eleven days. Most of these eleven days I’ve been sitting on the floor staring at this computer screen: sometimes surfing, occasionally chatting, but mostly job-hunting. I’ve had a wireless connection from the first moment of consciousness in the morning until finally drifting off, unable to type another word. I haven’t had to work twenty-eight consecutive days for each day of leisure, and I haven’t had to travel for an hour to the nearest e-cafe for Internet, just to spend my last $1.50 on chamomile tea because it’s the cheapest thing on the menu. I haven’t woken up in the wee small hours of the morning to discover that I’m laying on deck in the middle of a torrential downpour, having to run around closing hatches and putting in weatherboards before rushing off to my stuffy cabin, looking for dry clothes and dry blankets before drifting off for the one or two remaining hours of sleep I might be able to squeeze in.

I’ve had a grocery store, a movie theatre, a library, a bank, even a Target within walking distance these eleven days. I’ve been able to see new places in broad daylight- during business hours, even, and been able to buy souvenirs.

I’ve been offered what I consider to be three days’ pay for half a day’s work. I’ve slept in till noon. I’ve watched movies and read magazines. I’ve washed the dishes that only I have dirtied. I’ve had a hot shower every day. I haven’t run out of toothpaste, deodorant, or clean clothes. I’ve even been to the nail salon.

Eleven days… Maybe day twelve is where the fun begins.

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