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Wednesday is recycling day in our neck of the Wallingford, Pennsylvania, woods. Tuesday evenings, my husband Jon and I scurry around the kitchen gathering up stuff to go in the big green container we wheel down to the end of the driveway.
We have the usual: Prego jars for my "homemade" spaghetti sauce, eight-ounce plastic containers that held whitefish salad from our local deli, large hinged containers once filled with Caesar salad from our favorite takeout in Swarthmore, an empty bottle (or two) of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
Still, newspapers make up the bulk of our recycling material by far. There’s the New York Times, including the Sunday edition; the Philadelphia Inquirer with its comics; the salmon shades of the weekend edition of the Financial Times; the weekly Cape Codder that keeps us connected to our place up north; the (sometimes) 12-page Swarthmorean.
Jon and I love newspapers, real newspapers we hold in our hands. We start most mornings leafing through newsprint pages laid out on the kitchen counter. We drink our coffee and tea without fear that a slurp might become a slop and spill onto a keyboard. We eat our toast with grape jelly and pick up the papers without worrying that sticky fingers might mess up a temperamental touchpad.
On Sunday mornings, the many pages of the fat Sunday papers upholster the couch while we do the crossword puzzle, check the weddings in “Sunday Styles,” and toss various Inquirer sections back and forth as headlines catch our eyes.
It doesn't matter where we happen to be calling home; our passion for papers travels with us. Up on Cape Cod, Jon picks up three daily papers when he gets his coffee at the Brewster General Store: the New York Times for the crossword puzzle, so I can still kick start my brain in the morning; the Boston Globe to fill in for the Inquirer with city news; the Cape Cod Times for closure alerts on Route 6, coupons for $1 oysters at the Oyster Company Raw Bar & Grille in Dennis Port, and movie times at the Cape Cinema.
I confess, I do check the online version of the Globe when we are in Wallingford, but I much prefer it in print. I take comfort that readers of the print version see the same ads I see, whether for Middlesex Federal Bank or Northeast Home and Energy. It gives me the creeps when online ads appear for clothes I have just bought.
Man bites dog
Last fall we spent nine days in London. Just off the plane at Heathrow, we bought four newspapers: again, the New York Times (international edition) and three others to audition for our second daily paper: the Times of London, Daily Telegraph, and Guardian.
For us, the London Times has lost its credibility, even though it still publishes the Court Circulars in case we want to keep up with the Duke of Kent's schedule. Although our political persuasion should have led us to the Guardian, we fell for the Telegraph.
In this "paper of record," page two will have an extended explication of tense Brexit negotiations happening in Brussels, illustrated with a photograph of a downcast Theresa May flanked by whispering Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. And then, tucked in the bottom right corner of the same page, a 200-word story screams, "Pensioner Eaten by Crocodile" (dateline: Perth).
The lead article on the facing page covers the news that a Dover sole jumped down the throat of a fisherman who was kissing it (dateline: Bournemouth). The fish blocked the fisherman's windpipe, sending him (the fisherman) into cardiac arrest for three minutes before emergency responders extricated it. The fisherman survived. The fish did not.
Print newspapers are worth far more than the paper they are printed on. They pulse with the personalities and lives of their writers, editors, publishers, communities, even their advertisers. Print newspapers enrich the lives of readers who stumble on an eye-catching headline deep in section B and learn something they would never have found by browsing online. Even print ads can lead to fresh discoveries, unlike online ads that appear because you have already bought something from the same company.
So please forgive us for what may look like wanton disregard for a natural resource. We think of it as supporting a precious endangered species. And we promise to recycle.
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