Way back when, we used to have something called a Paper Drive. Remember those?
We'd save our newspapers for months, stacking them up in the garage until there wasn't any room for our cars. Then we'd put them in even piles, tie them with rope and haul them off to the school Paper Drive, which at the time was a huge fundraiser.
Ask kids today about a paper drive and they are likely to think it's something to put in their computer to drive the paper through the printer. That is, if they are using paper at all.
A few years ago, my place of employment decided to go paperless. It was not as much fun as going braless, and definitely not as successful. The process involved reading a huge training manual of over a hundred printed pieces of paper! So, the paperless office, at least where I worked, never came into fruition.
Still, other facets of my life have gone that way. When shopping I never write checks anymore. Instead I use my debit card.
I pay most of my bills online. And it's been years since I mailed anyone a letter. In fact, I can't help but wonder if some day the postage stamp will be something seen only in a museum.
I rarely use the Yellow Pages anymore, which has shrunk from about six inches thick down to a half-inch. I look up whatever I need on the Internet. And just last night, instead of using the paper take-out menu, we ordered our dinner online.
So as you can see, I'm willing to go paperless in most facets of my life. But when it comes to books, magazines and the Sunday paper, I'm finding it difficult.
Even more so, as my first ebook was just released. It's painfully hard to admit, I prefer paper over digital.
I know the Kindle, the Nook, the Microsoft Surface and the iPad are supposed to be like holding a book, but they are not books. There are no pages to turn, to run your fingers over. There is no smell of the freshly-printed word or the wispy sound of a turning page.
I can't imagine reading a bedtime story to my grandchildren from anything but a book, where they get to touch the beautiful illustrations. I can't imagine falling asleep with a computer on my nose.
And then how about all those quick trips to the bathroom, where I grab a magazine off the floor and read a quick article? Not an easy thing to do with a wireless reading device.
One of my most favorite things in life is reading: books, magazines, cereal boxes, the Sunday paper. Anything where there is no messing around with wireless connections or downloads. No cyberspace errors. No "Out of Memory" messages.
Especially Sunday mornings. I love to curl up on the couch with a good cup of coffee and all those wonderful sections spread around me, filled with articles ranging from world news to the local pet store. Reading on a computer, just doesn't seem as cozy.
And when I'm through, I recycle the paper (much the same as we did with our Paper Drives) and pass books and magazines on to friends.
I know we'd be saving trees if we didn't use so much paper, but holding a "real" book is one of the things that I'm reluctant to give up.
There is no need to remember to charge anything in order to see the words. God knows, we have enough things to remember.
All I have to do is -- pick it up, open the page and read.