Every morning I wake up in my New York City apartment. I brew a pot of coffee, make some oatmeal, pour a glass of tangerine juice and catch up on the news. Naturally I turn on cable news — to drown out the sound of the traffic outside — so that I can concentrate on the news I read on my computer.
I have a couple of go-to sites: The New York Times and The Drudge Report. They're easy to navigate, with the news I want: World events, media developments, a story about a cat nursing a litter of orphaned puppies.
But something's missing. Not the ink-stained hands — no fondness for that. Not the inserts that cascade across my floor and under the couch.
The Headlines. The big, brash, screaming and often hilarious and heart-stopping headlines that New York's tabloid newspapers specialize in just don't pack the same punch online. The words are there, sure. But they come on gradually as they "load," and once they're there, they're cluttered by all sorts of features and tabs and search options.
Until I fell into my online habit, I would go outside to the Korean deli each morning to drop a quarter for The New York Post. I'd get a small thrill as I approached the stack of papers. What did the headline writers cook up late last night? Then Pow! "Lust in Space!" for the astronaut love triangle story. A few years ago when First Daughter Jenna Bush was caught underage drinking? "Jenna and Tonic."
Of course I can still buy the 'paper' paper — and I do. Sporting my headline in public, I'll ride the subway or sit in a restaurant. And I'll get a thrill when, out of the corner of my eye, I see someone notice my headline and smile. It's more than a moment. It's a bond. (I don't get out much.)
Please don't go away, print. I appreciate the efforts of your flashy digital cousin, but aren't we glued to our computers enough? Without you, print, I'll have no headlines to share — and that'll be really lonely.