Story last updated at 4/22/2009 - 11:12 am
Since the announcement of my new position of General Manager for the Capital City Weekly, I have been receiving daily well wishes, which I very much appreciate - statements such as, "What a natural choice" and, "Why did you wait so long?" It seems people had been giving this some thought long before I did.
Everyone's very receptive and kind - then come the follow-up comments. People can't seem to help themselves.
"We love the paper, we have a new puppy."
"My hamster always checks the 'adoption' page before he does his 'business¿¿' to make sure he's not there."
Yes folks, after some years in the newspaper business, I've heard them all. And, I never grow tired of such assessments.
How great is that? In a time when people are concerned about the footprint they leave, and we all are looking for ways to reuse, recycle and live more harmoniously with the environment, it has to be noted that papers have been a part of this movement for well over a hundred years.
It may be wrapping precious breakables, lining the birdcage, or training that adorable new puppy. These are all good things, folks. We know. What other form of communication and entertainment has such long-term uses? I've heard even better ones.
My favorite comes from a very entertaining book by T.B. Botts, "Wilderness Blues: A Tale of Outhouses, Rutabagas and Other Unsavory Subjects." (See an archived review of this book at www.capitalcityweekly.com.) It's a very funny telling of life at an end-time farm in Hoonah, Alaska.
On the subject of outhouses, with which many Alaskans are familiar, one item plays an important role. Botts writes, "Toilet Paper ... It's a luxury that we Americans enjoy." On the subject of lacking this item, he writes, "You had to use what was provided. The Juneau Empire, the local newspaper, proved to be sufficient as toilet paper. It had the added advantage of giving you something to read while you were occupied."
Need I say more? But I will.
My father forwarded an e-mail from his cousin, Vesta Lee. She had read the article about my new position. Vesta Lee sends congratulations and comments on how their local paper is now only three days a week. My cousin states how she still loves papers and mentions, "I use my newspaper in the garden."
This really made me chuckle. I know what she meant. Obviously she loves both her local paper and juicy tomatoes. Another example of the power of newspapers. What other media can provide entertainment one day and a salad the next?
So please, go ahead, let us know how much you "love" your paper, whether you use it for training Fido, painting the porch or as compost for your garden. Newspapers remain very proud of the fact that we were green long before it was cool.
Laura L. Newsom is the general manager of the Capital City Weekly. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.