As a member of a generation that knew no computers or personal devices, I think I have adjusted fairly well to the electronic marvels that people take for granted today. But there is one convenience that I cannot embrace. I still depend upon a paper calendar to plan my days.
My wife has urged me to get with the modern program. She has adopted technology so enthusiastically that her iPhone beeps messages at all hours, so marriage with her is like being the spouse of R2-D2 from “Star Wars.” (That reminds me: I must make a notation on my calendar to bury her phone in a bucket of sand so I can get some sleep.)
I simply like paper. I like paper books (no Kindle for me), paper calendars (no Google reminders), newspapers (no wrapping fish in a computer) and toilet paper (definitely no bidets).
My view is that paper is where trees go to be immortal when great words are written down to last. So I was heartened by a recent story in the Business Day section of The New York Times titled “Mark It Down: Paper Calendars Endure in Digital Age.”
The Times story reported that paper calendars have not only survived, but sales of some kinds have increased. Sadly, the ones that have declined include the one I like the most: desk pads. I favor the old-fashioned ones that have a daily quotation.
Now, if you take inspiration from a good quotation, as I do, you can certainly find websites specializing in quotations. But reading quotations on the Internet is like eating Chinese food with a knife and fork — it’s just not as tasty.
Besides, you have to make a special effort to get your daily quotation fix on the internet. An educational desk pad gives you a fresh quotation with every new day. I miss that and I can’t find a fitting replacement.
All is not lost, because I still have a traditional, large paper calendar. My 2017 calendar has no quotations but it does feature big spaces for notes, such as doctor and dentist appointments and iPhone burials. It came from a hardware store and has watercolor pictures of trains, mostly steam.
The Times story about paper calendars revived an old dream: To have a quotation of mine printed on a desk pad calendar. There’s not much to look forward to in the column-writing game — crickets chirping to break the silence when there’s not volleys of abuse — but it would be great to be on a calendar. I would join the trees in immortality.
Calendar citation is almost a higher honor than having a reader stick the column on a fridge door. If my mother were still alive, she’d look at the calendar with my name and pithy saying and glow with pride. “Look,” she’d say to the neighbors, “A date that will live in incredibility.”
If anybody is out there in the desktop calendar publishing world looking for a few bon mots, while public demand still exists, I would recommend myself, in the absence of anybody else stepping forward. Here’s a sample — old and new — of what I can offer:
Liberals are people who believe you can have most any kind of sex but can’t have a cigarette afterward.
Conservatives are people who don’t believe you can have any kind of sex but have no problem if you want to light up before not doing it.
Progress often isn’t.
Bias is something other people have when they don’t agree with you.
The meek shall inherit the Earth but they won’t be the favorites in the Super Bowl.
When men are men, women usually know better.
The road to hell may be paved with good intentions but the highway to hell is always paved with bad intentions.
Politics and alcohol taken to excess bring on similar mental derangement but at least bottles of alcohol come with warning labels.
“Americans” is another word for liberals and “Americans” is another word for conservatives — something to remember in highly partisan times.
Give a man a fish, he has a meal for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he may curse his luck forever.
You can’t wrap a fish in a computer.
Wait! I am repeating myself, but I have lots more sayings, honestly. OK, I’ll settle for mention in a fortune cookie. So papers purveyors, feel free to call me. If you call my wife by mistake, no worries, I’ll answer the bucket of sand.
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