Some things just refuse to go quietly

Don’t throw the past away,
You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again.

—1982 Song performed by Anne Murray

Increasing time spans between today’s date and the date on one’s birth certificate often aids in the realization that every now and then, some things put aside as outdated or useless just refuse to go quietly.

When the “going paperless” movement hit some years ago, I made a conscious effort to get on board with it at work, but knew better than to ever try it at home. I confess, I have a penchant for saving things, many things that involve paper. Things like hundreds of books. Countless vinyl records, all in paper sleeves. My first driver’s license. Notebooks and research papers from college. Car magazines back to 1954. You get the idea.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Things like printouts of digitally filed tax returns, emails to read later, and anything on the internet holding any possibility of a future need are all on paper and on file.

I know what you’re thinking, but print on paper is far and away aesthetically more enjoyable in my book. There is nothing like the smell of paper and the comfort of holding it in your hands.

My home library doesn’t smell like fresh linens, room deodorizers, or scented candles. It’s resplendent in the intoxicating aroma of aged paper, a fragrance on the same olfactory level as expensive perfume or cookies in the oven.

Granted, there are advantages to digital over paper. Text and email beats the socks off writing a letter and risking a week for it to travel three counties via snail mail. Online ordering is especially handy for buying real books, buying paper edition magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and buying paper for your printer.
Online searches yield information and data ready for printing.

Which brings me to the point of this missive. Researching an article at work last week on misinformation about paper killing forests, I was thrilled to also find data overwhelmingly supporting continued popularity for the use of paper. Numerous surveys linked feelings toward paper to “a much more emotional and meaningful connection when reading on paper versus screens.”

Cited as factors contributing to these feelings toward paper were all points I have been using to rationalize my refusal to relinquish my love for paper: ease of reading, tactile experience, lack of Internet access.

Lack of Internet is probably not an issue if you call cities the size of Dallas or Houston home. But, in small communities, like Center, where AT&T service is only slightly better than what I envision the Mayflower may have had on its voyage to the new world, it’s a deal breaker.

One survey, covering five countries including the U.S., concluded its findings citing 80-85-percent of those surveyed believe companies promoting “go green – go paperless” are merely seeking to save costs; 62-79-percent want the option to continue receiving printed paper bills and statements, and 72-77-percent would be unhappy if asked to pay a premium for that option.

Online research proved I am not alone. Best news I’ve heard since vinyl records started making a comeback.

—Leon Aldridge

Aldridge columns are also published in the Center, Texas, Light and Champion (http://www.lightandchampion.com) and the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Tribune newspapers (http://www.tribnow.com).

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