The Mourning Paper – E-style

This week, our Hartford Courant came with a special insert announcing its new “electronic edition.” My first reaction was “ho hum” because I do, on occasion, refer to the online edition for special articles that I wish to forward to my progeny – such as the psychologist, John Rosemund. The People’s Pharmacy column has proven it advantages many times. (Advice is always more welcome coming from a pro than it is from Mom even if it’s the same.) I love the Flavor articles, and especially the cartoons! OMG, the cartoons! I hope they’re going to include the comics – they’re the first thing I read every day of the week. For years, my refrigerator had Funky Winkerbean hanging on the door. Now, my very favorite (since I have 5 teenage grandkids) is Zits. Jim Shea always leaves me laughing and copies consistently go to my son, who also writes a humor column. Ah, and all those yellowed pages in my photo albums of poetry, humor, cartoons and just plain stuff – are these now things of the past?
I said to my hubby as we sat reading our morning paper that if at some point we got too infirm to make it up our long, steep, driveway, the electronic edition would be fantastic. Then I became mortified as I contemplated all the ramifications of an electronic newspaper. We sit together each morning reading our favorite sections – we talk about them, compare thoughts on the articles, recommend pages to each other, and chide each other by passing the comics around and discussing the UConn men’s and women’s basketball news and we compare political philosophies. Would we would need to go into our own home offices with our morning coffees and email each other? Or, worse – would we stop communicating? The newspaper is one of our most sharing moments of the day – then we each go about our business until lunchtime – sometimes even dinnertime without crossing each other’s paths.
Years ago, as a young woman working in NYC and commuting from Long Island by subway and train, it was an art to learn how to fold a newspaper so you wouldn’t infringe on someone else’s space in cramped quarters. My father and I worked the jumble puzzles together on our way to work. If you didn’t have time to buy your paper, you’d read over someone’s shoulder or across the aisle or wait for somebody to finish his paper and walk away from it. Now if you want to do a crossword puzzle will you need to run to your computer to print it out? Are we converting to laptops and ipods for the news?
I notice lately that the television newcasters seem to just hint at a story, then refer you to their websites. After working all day, do you really want to hook up with your computer just to see “what’s new”? When I was a working person (now retired) I was happy to leave my computer alone for the evening and pursue other things. We constantly remind our younger generation to read more and spend less time on the computer. Obviously, we’re not paying attention to our own words. Are we saving trees and gasoline? Probably. But, sometimes, progress just isn’t!

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