By Wayne William Cipriano
The neat freaks out there will disagree but I would say the hallmark of an excellent periodical is pages so cut up they look shredded, with large holes, long strips of missing print, circles around articles, arrows pointing to highlighted sections or photographs.
If you do not do that sort of stuff, it is a real drag when you want to reread an article, check a memory, or verify an observation made by a fellow reader but cannot find the requisite bit. What date was it? What part of the paper? What position on the page?
You paw through issue after issue and you wish you had somehow noted the “important” items, clipped the entire piece out and put it into an envelope marked “School Bus Fiasco” or “Monster Close Elec-tions” or “Five Generations.”
It’s true that cutting up the paper results in a real mess left behind –– and should you ever want to find something now that you did not think was very important then, looking through that mess is really daunting. Not to mention the terrible coincidence that the piece you seek is on the other side of something you clipped out and slipped into one of those envelopes never to be seen again.
Of course, you could always subscribe twice, leaving one copy pristine and the second cut up, circled, arrowed and highlighted (a procedure our newspaper publisher would eagerly support) but only a dedicated obsessive-compulsive would do that, right?
We are lucky that our county newspaper generally confines itself to two sections, ten or twelve pages per section. And, even so, our copy often ends up in tatters, especially when there has been a free-for-all at a school board meeting, several outstanding columns, a funny comic strip you want to paste in your wife’s Day-Timer, and an obituary of someone you really liked, (or really didn’t). What an unmanageably expanding mess we’d have if there were three or four sections, even more pages per section!
Something I have tried when I was searching for some journalistic gem and I could not face that mouldering pile of tattered newsprint in the basement is stopping by the Herald office in Ava and looking for the piece I wanted to find in their BIG BOOK of bound past issues. It is easy to flip through, unfailingly chronological, and occasionally those on duty there can help you remember where the elusive article might be found.
The only problem is that when you have found that piece you were looking for there is no way you can slyly tear it out and take it with you. Take it from someone who knows, those babes behind the counter will rat you out in a heartbeat!