Shannon Bardwell: Hand over your paper, ma'am


Shannon Bardwell



I miss the old ways. I really do. There''s all this hullabaloo about newspapers and how one day soon we won''t have them anymore. We won''t feel real paper in our hands and wipe ink from our fingers. We won''t clip things. My momma was a clipper and I''m a clipper. I have files of newspaper clippings. I also send clippings to people. When I take my time to clip, write a note and mail it to a friend, they know I care to send the very best. I don''t want a "paperless" society. I want paper! 


Paperless is a hot topic for books. The Starkville Public Library is getting Kindles. Soon you''ll be able to check them out, bundled in your cozy comforter with a cup of hot chocolate and a Kindle; the winds of winter whistling outside the window. It''s just not the same; especially when you doze off and the Kindle crashes to the floor. Now you owe the library about $1,000 dollars. Sleep well. 


I just got off the phone with a campground host in Mt Juliet, Tenn. I''m looking forward to spending a few days with Sam beside a beautiful lake; maybe fishing and watching the flora and the fauna and the leaves turn fallish colors. I asked for a brochure and a map. 


The host said, "Can you just look on the Internet?" 


"Well, I did," I replied. "But I thought you might have something to send me ... in the mail." 


No, she didn''t have anything she could send. What I didn''t tell her is that I ran out of color ink over a year ago so the blue and yellow highways don''t print. Now, just to have a "brochure" and a map, I have to go to town and purchase a color ink cartridge for about $30, and all I really want is a brochure, for Pete''s sake. Instead I drew the highways on the map with my pen ... you know, those little instruments that you use to write on paper. 


I read an article in Smithsonian magazine (a paper magazine that I get through the U.S. Postal Service) about technological advances that would be a part of our lives in the next 40 years. In disbelief I read them aloud to my stepdaughter. She said, "We have that now. You can get an app for your iPhone." 


"Noooo," I crooned. "Tell me it''s not true." 


But this really takes the cake. I spent about $60, time and gas to go to a writers'' conference. At the end of a class I approached the speaker. "Can you tell me what you think ''writing esoterically'' means?" 


She gazed thoughtfully into space and then replied, "Have you looked it up on the Internet?" 


If stares could pulverize, she would have been paté.


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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