Why I Can’t Give Up the Inquirer

I tried to cancel my subscription, but I love the written word written on paper

I just got off the phone with the Inquirer. The paper didn’t arrive on time this morning, and my husband was leaving for work before it got here. So, for the umpteenth time, he asked me to cancel the paper: “It doesn’t get here on time and by this evening, when I get a chance to read it, it will be old news so just cancel the damn thing.”

“Yes, dear.”

I tried to cancel it; really, I did. I explained to the customer service person (I pressed zero like a maniac through the automated system until a real human being got on the line) that it just arrives too late and I’d like to cancel. The rep asked that I give the delivery person another chance; the paper will call them and ask them to get it to me earlier. I relented and said OK and not just because I believe in second chances (this is about the 10th time I’ve called so I guess I believe in 11th chances), but because I just can’t imagine not reading the morning paper. Just like I can’t read a book on a Kindle. I have to hold the paper in my hands. [SIGNUP]

I get what my husband’s saying about the speed of news. As soon as I turn on the computer in the morning, all the top news stories are staring at me while I bump around the kitchen, fumbling for my coffee and my coat on my way out into the elements to retrieve the real deal: the newspaper. Sure, I could sit down and start clicking, but I don’t. I wait to find out all the day’s news until I have my cup of joe, feet curled underneath me on my big comfy chair. Each section is read and then furled to the ground to make a news print arc around my feet. When my husband gets the paper first and practices his own section-throwing ritual, it ends up in disarray on the floor. My turn. I pick each section and read them in order. If C ends up on the floor before B, I wait. OCD? Maybe. I’d like to think it’s just part of the newspaper experience. Same thing with books; I want to hold them in my hands and prop them up on a rolled beach towel on my lap in the summer, my feet digging into the sand. I want to earmark them and slide them under my side of the bed when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.

People say that the publishing industry looks gloomy. Newspapers are going out of business and book sales have plummeted since the introduction of e-readers. Sounds ominous for us dinosaurs, all curled up on the sofa, who enjoy the written word written on paper. Folks in the know say that while the industry tries to adjust to the world’s shifting mode of news consumption via cyber-technology, there will always be a place for the old-fashioned form of reading; you know, the one that includes a cup of coffee and a Snuggie.