Saturday, 26 September 2015

Ottawa Citizen: Please read me! I'm free!

Two weeks ago, I received my first unsolicited copy of the Ottawa Citizen.
I used to be a subscriber, maybe for twenty years. I also used to subscribe to the Globe and Mail -- even the New York Times...for a time.
I loved everything about newspapers. I wrote for them. I was devoted to them. I kept copies of my own articles until they became yeller. I even laminated one.

It is now the color of a rubbie's fingers.
I don't write for papers much anymore because it's too hard to get published. I can't take the rejection.
That's why I blog.
Anyway, a few years ago, I stopped getting the paper. I read everything online now, just like the rest of the world. I get most of the content for free. If a news organization has a paywall, I don't care. I stop reading it.
I get the flyers delivered right to my inbox. I have something called Obit Messenger to tell me which of my friends has shuffled off.
My carbon foot print is now more like a toe dip.
I'm proud of that.
So when I got this free subscription from the Citizen, I was concerned that I might be lured back to the old habit.
After two weeks of home delivery, there's not a chance.
The first few papers piled up on the coffee table. They weren't like the old papers which were inches thick. These weekday papers are more like pamphets. Pass.
I tried to read the Saturday paper and got through the first couple of sections, then I put it aside and picked up my iPhone and checked Twitter.
Then I checked Facebook.

The Saturday paper used to be a must read that took me hours to comb through over cups of coffee.
Now I go to the gym instead.
The problem is there's nothing in the paper to read anymore.
At least there's nothing to read that has anything to do with my life.
I don't own a home, so I don't care about the two home sections. There's a section called Me which I really don't understand. There's another one called Context that didn't give me any.
And I've never read the Sports.
I went looking for the Obit section, and that's when it hit me. The Citizen has been holding out on the Obituaries. The Obit messenger only sends me half a dozen blurbs when there are hundreds of other people dying in Ottawa.
I just never knew.
No wonder the families never speak to me.
In reality, I hear about the deaths of people who matter to me over Facebook.
Then I read all the 'sorry for your loss' posts. Most of us don't even go to funerals anymore.
We pay our respects virtually.
And we hear about memorial services that are promised but never happen.
A lot if people don't bother with death notices anymore.
It's like Shirley Van Dusen once said to me when I enquired about who would find her husband if he died while she was on vacation.
"Oh someone will find him eventually."
Often I find out about someone who has died when I go to wish them Happy Birthday on Facebook only to discover they died two years before.
Guess they forgot to give their relatives their Facebook password before the doctor applied the paddles.

Back to the Citizen. It's sitting here in my black box staring at me, taunting me, begging me to read it.
I'll have to look away until Monday when the garbage people take away all the useless pages.
Thank God Postmedia canceled the Sunday Edition.

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