So far, no one has found a suitable replacement for newspapers that seem perfectly designed for this avian use. We should include puppies, along with birds, as newspapers’ and man’s best friends.
Bubble wrap is killing newspapers.
For decades, we used crumpled newspaper to mail back Aunt Jane’s crystal punch bowl. Now, next-day-delivery strangers work under the cover of darkness in a giant warehouse in Tennessee and handle the shipping of the precious bowl.
They surround it with bubble wrap that contains thousands of air-pocket bumps that cushion the bowl from the knocks and drops of shipping. The demise of using newspapers to wrap things leaves only a few heroes who are trying to save newspapers from extinction.
One is a group of domesticated birds. Parrots and parakeets are poised each day to delay newspapers from reaching the incinerator. Their cages are lined with newspaper sheets that help maintain hygiene in the feathered world.
So far, no one has found a suitable replacement for newspapers that seem perfectly designed for this avian use. We should include puppies, along with birds, as newspapers’ and man’s best friends. But newspaper dependency lasts only until the puppy is house-trained.
In addition, there are historical vectors that have contributed to this new world order of fewer and fewer newspapers. During Don Corleone’s time, for example, fellow Mafiosi knew they were doomed when they received a newspaper wrapped around a fish. It was an ancient Sicilian warning that meant, “Tomorrow, you will swim with the fishes.”
With the decline of the mafia in recent years, newsstand sales have plummeted. No longer do we see wise guys who wore white spats, shiny suits and felt fedoras, lurking around newsstands, smoking cigarettes and reading racing sheet tabloids.
So, if you are reading this in a newspaper, I thank your parakeet or puppy. If you are reading it online, I thank Al Gore –– no, wait, make that the Defense Department. For not receiving this wrapped around a dead fish, I am eternally grateful.
Peter Costa is a columnist for GateHouse Media. His latest collection of humor columns, “Outrageous CostaLiving,” is available at amazon.com.