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Then: Paper

Now: Paperless

Way back when we used to have something called a Paper Drive.  Remember those?  We'd save our newspapers for months, stacking them up in the garage until there wasn't any room for our cars. Then we'd put them in even piles, tie them with rope and haul them off to the school Paper Drive, which at the time was a huge fund raiser.  

Ask kids today about a paper drive and they are likely to think it's something to put in their computer to drive the paper through the printer.  That is, if they are using paper at all.

In my office, we are tying to go paperless.  But of course, that involves reading a huge training manual of, you guessed it, a hundred printed pieces of paper!  So, the paperless office, at least where I work, may be a long way off.

Still, other facets of my life have gone that way.  I rarely write checks anymore.  Instead I use my debit card.  But then of course, by the time I put my debit card back in my wallet, the money for the milk I just bought has already been deducted from my checking account.  So, in some instance (like when I'm trying to float my money) I will write a check.  

I pay some bills online, but not all of them.  And it's been years since I mailed anyone a letter.  In fact, I can't help but wonder if some day the postage stamp will be something seen only in a museum.  

I rarely use the Yellow Pages anymore, which has shrunk from about six inches thick down to a half inch.  I look up whatever I need on the Internet.  And just last night instead of using the paper take-out menu, we ordered our dinner online.

Yes, I'm willing to go paperless in most facets of my life.   But when it comes to books, magazines and the Sunday paper, I may never change.

I know the Kindle and the Sony Reader are supposed to be like holding a book, but they are not books.  There are no pages to turn, to run your fingers over.  There is no smell of the freshly printed word.  The wispy sound of a turning page.  

I can't imagine reading a bedtime story to my grandchildren from anything but a book, where they get to touch the beautiful illustrations.  Or falling asleep with a computer on my nose.  

And then how about all those quick trips to the bathroom, where I grab a magazine off the floor and read a quick article?  Not an easy thing to do with a wireless reading device.  

One of my most favorite things in life is reading: books, magazines, cereal boxes, the Sunday Paper.  Anything where there is no messing around with wireless connections or downloads.  No cyberspace errors.  No “Out of Memory” messages.      

Especially Sunday mornings.  I love to curl up on the couch with a good cup of coffee and all those wonderful sections spread around me, filled with articles ranging from world news to the local pet store.  Reading on a computer, just doesn’t seem as cozy.  

And when I'm through, I recycle the paper (much the same as we did with our Paper Drives) and pass books and magazines on to friends.  

I know we'd be saving trees if we didn't use so much paper, but lying in bed reading a good book is one of the things that saves my mind and keeps my memory alive.    

All I have to do is - pick it up, open the page and read.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Nov 10, 2008
    • Loved your line about paper drives. In fact, I just checked with a 15 year-old and 20 year-old in the next room, and I got, “I have no idea,” and “What he said.”  :)

      And yes, like you, I’m making the office move to paperless...but it’s a slow one...

      Another great blog!

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lindao wrote Nov 10, 2008
    • These days, I try to do my part and separate out things I think are recyclable for the blue garbage can instead of the black one, here in L.A.  But I’m with you, Janie.  Even though I write on a computer, I edit best with the work printed out.  And even though I feel as if I’m becoming a dinosaur, I still get the newspaper delivered daily—much easier than reading it online.
      As for books, I love having them in my hands, being able to thumb through pages.  Maybe someday I’ll try an electronic reader—if I must—but as an adjunct, and not replacement, for the real thing! —LindaO

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Nov 10, 2008
    • Annie - I agree that we could do with less junk mail!  At least junk emails, we can just get rid of my hitting Delete.

      Tina - I didn’t think the kids of today knew what a paper drive was and you confirmed my suspicions.

      Linda - I’m with you.  I love holding a book.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Diane Klapper wrote Nov 10, 2008
    • Janie,  

               You did it again another interesting blog.  I do gre with you about the written word.  I love turning pages in fashion magazines and finding all the suprising pictures.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Nov 10, 2008
    • Amazing how time changes things, but how some things never change.

      I think most of us will not give up reading a good book while holding it in our hand, or reading that Sunday paper, and I’m okay with that. What bothers me is that very few of us continue to  write letters or hand written notes, and with every passing year I notice that most of the communication is done on line, on cell phone text messages and through emails. No one really talks anymore and I really miss human interaction.

      How about everyone takes a challenge and writes a hand written letter to their best friend, this week.  Who is up for it?

      One requirement you will need to share the details of the initial shock encountered by your friend when she/he receives that letter that I’m sure they will share with you.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Justjer wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Another really great blog, Janie. I especially appreciated the reference to a huge paper manual to learn how to go paperless. You have an incredible knack for these guided walks along memory lane.  Keep on keepin’ on.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Givalook - Thanks for your comment.  That’s a great photo of you!

      Justjer -  I plan on to Keep on keepin’ on.

      Yana -  I forgot that I actually do send cards and letters to my grandchildren.  They are too young for emails and love watching the mail drop through the slot unto their floor.  I’m going to send them something today.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sylvia wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • I just cannot imagine life without a book.  Nothing can compare to being curled up in a chair with a good book.  Without books that we can hold in our hands, how could we cuddle up with our grandchildren and read to them?  I pray that books made of paper will never go out of style.  Terrific story Janie.  Keep up the good work.   Sylvia

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