The Power of Paper

You know what, Bubba? We’re right and the world’s all wrong.”
~My Dad

Yes, my dad called me “Bubba,” and as a kid, I hated it. Oh, did I hate it. When a boy I liked would come over to our house, I would always ask him to refrain from that nickname. He tried; he really did, but he always slipped up, and when he did, he’d turn and wince, knowing he let a “Bubba” slip out. 

He flew from this world to the next 27 years ago today, way too soon, thanks to substandard care at a VA hospital. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say, it’s the reason I’m not doing any cartwheels over “Medicare for All.” Doctors should be calling the shots-not insurance companies and definitely not government bureaucrats. (#Sorrynotsorry for the healthcare rant. Now, on to the subject at hand…)

I miss him so much. I hear his voice when I hear Jim Reeves sing. I can’t look at an antipasto salad and not think of him. Same goes for smoked oysters in a tin, a newly planted garden, ice cream, salami, confetti cupcakes, and the sound of a man whistling. Oh, his whistling. I don’t drink beer, nor do I wear men’s aftershave, but I keep one bottle of Coors in my fridge and a bottle of Old Spice on my dressing table in his honor.

My mom and dad were very different people. My mom was loving, but she had razor sharp wit and did not suffer fools. She could see right through a person. Woe to the individual telling her a lie. It would not go well.

My dad, on the other hand, was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. In many ways, my son has his personality. An easy going patience that defies logic. 

And oh, he could write. 

Any humor I possess, I got from my mom, but my love for words, well, that comes from my dad. I can close my eyes and see him writing on his manual typewriter using just his two index fingers. (Note to anyone under the age of 20: Typewriters are things that people in the olden days used to transfer thoughts to paper. They are kind of like laptops, except you don’t plug them in and the document is instantly printed.)

I have all his writings, complete with his hand written edits. Mostly poetry and song lyrics. I pull them out often and read them, although I know them all by heart. And I am aware, as I hold the 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper, that a long time ago, my dad held the very same sheets. They were in his hands, too. 

I think about this when I think about the hundreds of pieces I’ve written and stored on a hard drive and in the cloud. Sure, I print my photographs, even snapshots, but I forget about what else paper can do, namely, stand the test of time. 

Will my kids be able to read my writings when I am gone? 
Will I back them all up as technology changes?
Will I assume they are safe because they are on the cloud (which is really just another computer somewhere)

Or shall I print them and eliminate all doubt?

My friends, my wish for you is that you understand and embrace the importance of paper. 

It survives. 
It lives on. 
It is a tangible artifact from the past that we send to the future.

It is history alive in your hands. 

If you love it, PRINT IT. 

And happy heaven-versary, Dad. Your Bubba loves you. 


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