With recent stories detailing the demise of many big city newspapers, and with our own papers giving up daily home delivery, I was reminded of an essay I wrote a few years ago when labor/management were at loggerheads stopped the Detroit presses and left my world blank.
You don't miss the water 'til the well runs dry is an old, worn-out adage that still drips with truth today. When various unions decided to take on the Detroit papers, most people reacted with little or no alarm. For them daily information came from so many sources that missing one was no big deal. They could live without the old news with CNN, MSNBC, cable, satellite dishes, the internet, and a regular cornucopia of fast-breaking electronic stuff. But not for me.
You see opening the front door, taking in a full blast of pre-dawn air, bending down to pick up the tightly folded morning paper is the perfect wake up exercise. I love releasing the sections from their bound form and reading the bold headlines which capture the the story du jour in a succinct, clever word order. The ink and paper have a certain smell that compliment the aroma of brewed coffee. The columnists and reporters are my pals. They inform, challenge, and entertain me. We share laughs, stats, and concerns.
As the newspaper strike took affect, my mornings were disturbed. My good friend wasn't on the porch, waiting for me chuck full of news, editorials, movie reviews, etc. I was lost. Sitting at the table, I felt lonely. The cereal in the bowl tried to make small talk...no luck. The hot coffee helped, but it, too, missed its sidekick. The Mrs. did her best to inform and entertain, but even her great charms were no substitute for Mitch Album, game day reports, news analysis, cartoons, coupons, and puzzles.
As the day progressed, things did not improve. Radio and television brought a small degree of relief, but they just couldn't get up close and personal like the characters on the page. I felt like a refugee in a strange land without my paper. I needed help.
Fortunately, help came in the form of a partial labor-management agreement. Nothing was settled. No one, neither owners nor unions, was really satisfied, but the presses would roll again. Yeah! Selfish, maybe, but I was pleased. My morning roll-up would return. The sun would come out, a glorious day would follow, and everything in the world would find its way back into print. And so, everything was well again.