Waste Paper

I was ripping my name off a slew of catalogs I got in the mail when I remembered a talk some man gave my class when I was in the eighth grade. This was decades before the internet, decades even before computers were commonplace. In fact, back then, a computer occupied almost two thousand square feet and weighed fifty tons. Any cell phone today has 1,300 times more power than those computers did, but those computers fueled the imagination. And what that man talked about was simply his imaginative extrapolation of what the world would be like in the future.

He talked of personal phones we could carry with us, though I don’t think he mentioned the multiple functions those phones now have. He talked about computers running the world, about how menial jobs would be a thing of the past since computers would do all the work, and how we’d all have more free time, though the truth is, working folks today have less free time than people did back then.

What he did say, what many people have said over the years, and what stuck with me and inspired this blog, is that we would be a paperless society in the not-too-distant future. Well, that talk was in my distant past, and as far as I know, there has been no reduction in paper. Some statistics say we use more per capita, some say we use less, so I don’t know what the truth is. But considering the number of catalogs I receive and the amount of junk mail, my personal consumption of paper is way up.

I do get a couple of bills via email and pay online, but the elimination of those few pieces of paper is offset a hundred times by the avalanche of catalogs. If I request no catalogs, they sell my name to someone who will send me catalogs.

Yep, here we are, way beyond that not-too-distant future, and paper use is astronomical.

Don’t get me wrong — I love paper. Plain white paper. Colored paper. Wrapping paper. Note paper. Lined paper. Notebook paper. Origami paper. All kinds and thicknesses of paper. It’s an amazing and versatile product that brightens my day, especially when I get a greeting card or read a book or jot down possible topics for this blog. I am especially grateful that the tarot cards I’m trying to learn are just that — cards — and not some electronic device that will shuffle and deal the non-existent cards for me. (There are such programs, and I do check one out occasionally, but that’s different than my getting a feel for the cards.)

Although I’m now in the habit of writing using a keyboard, my first books were all written longhand because I have much better brain/hand coordination than I do brain/keyboard. And although I do read ebooks, I am still old-fashioned enough to like physical printed books.

As you can see, it’s not paper as a valuable commodity I would like to see less of, just a lot less waste paper.


“I am Bob, the Right Hand of God. As part of the galactic renewal program, God has accepted an offer from a development company on the planet Xerxes to turn Earth into a theme park. Not even God can stop progress, but to tell the truth, He’s glad of the change. He’s never been satisfied with Earth. For one thing, there are too many humans on it. He’s decided to eliminate anyone who isn’t nice, and because He’s God, He knows who you are; you can’t talk your way out of it as you humans normally do.”

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

One Response to “Waste Paper”

  1. Sam Sattler Says:

    This reminds me of a couple of my old bosses. Well after email had become the norm for interoffice communication, I ended up with two bosses who insisted that each and every email they sent or received be printed out by their secretary (that’s when secretaries still existed) and placed in folders for their permanent files. One of them wouldn’t even read email any other way. The paperless revolution has fizzled to a large degree because of brainiacs like those two.

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