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Saying Goodbye to Newspapers and Other Things

Printer's ink is in my blood, embedded in my DNA. Following in the footsteps of those long gone leads me to cherish their legacy even more.

Old News

Old News

Journal Entry, April 23, 2019

My journal entry for today might go something like this.

It's time. Time to move into the 21st Century and join the millions of others who no longer rely on antiquated forms of media and communication.

It's time to protect the environment, save the trees. No longer can I rely on the paper industry to provide the means for keeping in touch with the world and local happenings.

It's time to quit the newspaper.

That's right. No more morning paper. No more trudging out to the street in snow, wind, and rain to fetch a soggy rolled up vestige of yesterday's news.

My morning paper is no longer the most reliable source of information. Most of what I read has happened and been reported on 'Yahoo' twelve or even twenty-four hours earlier.

And the cost is nothing short of outrageous. My monthly bill for old news used to make a car payment.

More Antiquated Technology

One other way to cut the cord of old tech is to do away with our phone. Not the cell phone of course, we have two of them plus an I-pad, Kindle and two laptops.

I'm talking about the landline. For those too young to have known, that was the telephone hanging on the wall or sitting in a cradle in the kitchen, with an extension or two placed around the house for convenience. You couldn't carry it around town, or the world. It couldn't take pictures or text a BFF, or do much of anything really. Just a phone.

It's a throwback to another era when we didn't need or even remotely believe that we couldn't leave the house without one. Or sit at the table without one. Or, use the bathroom without carrying our phone along, just in case something important like a tweet from the Kardashians might come through, and we would just have to read it.

And drop a six hundred dollar device into the toilet.

I always thought that having a landline was another layer of security just in case a cyber attack occurred and I needed to tell someone.

There was the fax line that I could always use, but I guess I can do the same thing online with my air printer. If I only knew how to do that. There always seems to be a learning curve, and I tend to travel more in a straight line.

"OS9-545"

"OS9-545"

Back To The Newspaper

The printed word goes back 500 years or so, to Guttenberg and his printing press. How many millions of pages and billions of words have been written and read on the printed page?

Once printed, the page becomes permanent, not deleted by a simple mouse click. The Gutenberg Bible, written in 1454-1455 A.D. is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records (another printed work), the oldest surviving book printed with moveable type.

Try finding a tweet from last week.

Besides that, printer's ink is in my DNA. My Grandpa, Paul Bauer, and Aunt, Mary Ann were both linotype operators. My Uncle Ted was a press operator while Aunt Caroline and Uncle Bob both worked in the business. Another aunt, Karren once nearly lost her hand to an offset press when she was still in high school, working in the family shop.

The smell of molten lead from a linotype machine was one of the first I knew outside of my home.

The Milwaukee Journal building had a room full of these unique machines. The operator would sit at a keyboard typing out the lines that became embedded into thin pieces of melted lead called slugs. The word producing engines were all lined up, amid the smell of old coffee, cigarette smoke, and hot metal. The sound emitted was a din of clicks and clacks and ka-chunks, as they created the backward letters that would become words in the evening paper.

I grew up sprawled on the floor with the Sunday Funnies and the Green Sheet. 'Andy Capp' and 'Ask Andy'. 'Pogo' and the gang.

I delivered newspapers on a bicycle, 53 a day, seven days a week for a profit of $5. If, that is I collected from everyone. Tips were good at Christmas time.

My mantra was like that of the mail carriers, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" Well, not quite. My dad would take me around in the Ford station wagon if the weather was bad. My old 4th-grade teacher who lived a mile or so out of town didn't always get her paper.

Later on, I followed in the family tradition, working as a copy boy at the Journal.

Now I write some.

Epilogue

So I could save a hundred or so bucks a month by doing away with the phone on the wall and reading the news online. Spare a tree or two and join the new generation of techno-peeps. I could then, like millions of others spend my days glued to the glow of a screen, at the mercy of artificial intelligence and an unseen ISP. Afraid to turn it off for even a second.

I think, not yet.

Comments

Angeles from Spain on April 25, 2019:

Sure! Take care, Larry!

Lawrence P Wilson (author) from Green Bay WI on April 24, 2019:

Thanks for your comment. We were once the generation of change. Not so much now. Take care, Larry

Angeles from Spain on April 24, 2019:

Good, really good! That's my generation's big question... To keep on reading the newspaper, magazine,... or just be literally glued to the screen. We still have the landline but younger couples tend now to use just cells instead at home. I guess we should follow the technology, but always trying to balance.. good article!