Monday, June 13, 2011

Newspaper Isn't Worth Stealing These Days

The Powers That Be fenced in our apartment complex several years ago. Since then, the newspaper person has had to pitch the newspaper over the vehicle exit gate. Most of the time, it’s there when I get up in the morning. Sometimes it isn’t.

On the days that the newspaper is AWOL, I can’t decide whether another resident confiscated it or the newspaper person just decided to skip us that morning. I’m inclined to go with the second explanation. I don’t know why anyone would bother to steal it.

There’s not much in the newspaper these days, but Other Half can’t do without it. I could, and that’s sort of sad.

I began reading newspapers when I was six or seven, and I read “real” news items as well as the comics. I doubt that I paid much attention to the world and national news. However, at that age, I had an almost nonexistent social life, so I always looked forward to reading what would probably be described today as the “society page.”

In a small way, that page was the Facebook of its day.

I grew up in a mostly rural area, during a time when stories about residents’ activities and events routinely appeared in the newspaper. I remember reading about birthday and anniversary parties, family vacations, family reunions, and all sorts of other things that the locals, their families, and their guests participated in. My favorites were the wedding write-ups. I was especially impressed by descriptions of wedding attire that included every detail right down to the last bead on the bodice of the wedding gown.

Although I never saw the account of their wedding, my parents made the news when they got married. Other than that, Mom and Dad kept a low profile. However, when I turned seven, they submitted an account of my birthday party to the newspaper. The very short article noted that sixteen guests (and me, of course) enjoyed a lunch that included a variety of finger sandwiches as well as the traditional ice cream and cake. It concluded with the then-standard line that appeared in all blurbs about birthday parties: games were played and prizes were won.

I suspect that newspaper circulation numbers began declining on the day John Cameron Swayze first anchored the NBC Camel News Caravan way back in 1949. In addition to television, newspapers now compete with the Internet, which also never fails to report the latest crisis or scandal live and in color.

I confess that I don’t read the newspaper very often. I read the local, regional, and national news reports on the Internet. I figure if there’s something I really ought to know, Yahoo will tell me.