Happy birthday, newspaper!

October 18, 2013 

By Bill Filer

The Democrat-Missourian is celebrating its 133rd anniversary.

Frankly, I don’t think it looks a day over 50. Not sure how it does it.

Newspapers make up some of my earliest memories.

Pages A1 and A18, or the front and last page, that’s what I remember looking at every Sunday morning as a kid.

After making the groggy walk into the living room, I’d find my old man behind a newspaper sitting in his favorite white, crushed velvet chair.

I can remember feeling very much older and mature when I would sit on the floor at his feet reading, or pretending to read, the sections he had already finished.

I realize I may have lost some of you regarding a couple of items.

Firstly, the newspaper thing I’m referring to is a daily or weekly periodical that you can’t plug in, download apps on, or even, dare I say it, use to go online.

It’s how us old-timers used to get the national and local news, world events, sports, weather, and occasionally something to wrap a dead fish in back in the day.

A newspaper has words, sometimes lots of them, organized into articles, divided up into sections, printed on actual paper, folded, rolled, and delivered to your door.

In some cases, delivered to your shrubs, or the neighbor’s yard, but delivered nonetheless.

The other thing was crushed velvet.

It was kind of big deal in the 70’s.

Thank goodness, only one of those two things is even remotely fashionable today.

That would be newspapers, by the way. In case you were wondering.

Remotely fashionable is accurate in that most of us get our news via electronic means nowadays.

The news is still delivered in a sense, just not to your door step, or even across the street from your door step in the middle of the neighbor’s begonias.

The news is delivered via electrons floating in the ether to a computer, laptop or a mobile device.

Reading an actual newspaper is a stately, intellectual affair.

Getting the news online is a video game.

Reading the newspaper is relaxing.

Viewing news content online is a stressful exercise in avoiding pop ups, scrolling graphics, and hyperlinks.

It is not the same. It is not the same at all. My biggest gripe with getting the news online is the ads.

There are ads in newspapers, certainly, but at no time does a newspaper ad suddenly blossom on the page, blotting out everything I want to read, requiring me to click an “X” in the upper corner to remove it.

The front page story, above the fold, in the newspaper is never accompanied by enticements to click and learn about seven tricks to a flat stomach, or the one thing big pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know about flax seed oil.

If I am reading articles on Syria, or the dysfunction in our own government, the newspaper doesn’t assume I am also looking for information on singles in my area or an animated GIF of Miley Cyrus twerking.

When possible, I prefer a newspaper. Besides, have you ever tried to wrap a dead fish in an iPad?

Bill Filer is a humor columnist for the Cass County Democrat Missourian. He is a resident of Harrisonville and owner of Brew HaHa’s, a mobile coffee shop.

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