Those of us in the newspaper business have got a dilemma on our hands. And no it’s not the imminent fall of print journalism. That would be too heavy a topic for this grizzled reporter.
My problem lies in the leaning tower of newspapers by my desk; the fact that my livelihood takes up space and I can’t seem to part with it. In no other area of my house is this more apparent than in my office, where I’ve stockpiled years of newspapers, notebooks and other reporter debris.
Debris! All of it!
If you were to throw a lit match into my office the room would go up in flames.
Imagine if I worked for a daily.
Now add the fact that I have a collection of newspapers from various cities and towns I’ve traveled through: The Idaho Statesman. The Oregonian. The Kansas City Star. The Hannibal Courier-Post. The Ozark County Times. The Chicago Tribune. The Logan Herald Journal. The Denver Post. Estes Park Trail Gazette. Mountain Valley News. Colorado Springs Independent. The Buffalo News. The Chattanoogan. The Clarion Ledger. The Arkansas Times. Asheville’s Mountain Xpress. (They’re all stacked in that white chest next to where the pug is sleeping.)
I haven’t even counted the European newspapers I keep in a Rubbermaid bin in my bedroom closet.
Some people buy souvenir shot glasses. I buy newspapers. Newspapers take up more room.
They were beginning to choke me. The dust was making me sneeze. The dust was making the pug sneeze. The leaning tower of newspapers was starting to resemble something from out of A&E’s Hoarders. Jesus, that show makes my skin crawl. I dare you to watch just episode and not purge your life of every inanimate object.
If my living quarters ever got so bad that you had to tunnel your way through a labyrinth of high-rising shit to find me (undoubtedly dressed in a floral print muumuu), I’d urge you to light the whole house on fire.
You ever noticed that the hoarder is usually married to a seemingly normal person?
Sample dialogue from an episode of Hoarders:
Seemingly normal spouse: “I don’t know what to do. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even use my bathroom. Betty’s filled it with McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.”
Betty: “But they’re in sandwich baggies. It’s not like they’re everywhere.”
Seemingly normal spouse: “They’re everywhere. They’re stuffed inside the toilet.”
Betty: “We’ve got a perfectly fine bathroom in the basement.”
Seemingly normal spouse: “The basement is filled with Betty’s collection of false teeth and brunette wigs. Betty, you know I can’t use the downstairs toilet.”
Betty: “But I need those false teeth.”
Seemingly normal spouse: “You have all your teeth.”
Betty: “One day I might not.”
You get my point. That show drives me bananas.
Anyway. My weakness lies in newspapers and notebooks, although notebooks are far easier to throw out. I don’t know why I even bother to save notebooks for more than two years. After six months, I rarely reference them. Plus, they’re filled with nearly illegible scrawl that I can only decipher in the immediate days following an interview.
FYI: I take all my notes by hand. Tape recorders give me anxiety and I’m not a fan of bringing a laptop to interviews. So notebooks it is. Not reporter pads either. I like a good chunky notebook. Typically, I buy small five-subject notebooks from CVS. Why CVS? Because there’s a CVS on every corner in Florida and by the time I realize I’ve used up a notebook, I’m on my way to an interview with five minutes to spare.
I go through one five-subject notebook every three weeks. My office looks like a high school locker.
And have I mentioned the press passes and lanyards?
Joe insisted I keep his. I told him no way was I gonna keep his and toss mine, thus the lanyards were spared.
If you ever see me on Hoarders drowning in lanyards, blame my husband.
PS. Note the misspelled last name. ↑
PPS. Hey Heelya! I’m on the phone with you in the top picture.
PPPS. In case you didn’t click the embedded link in the first graph of this post, here’s an Onion newscast that touches on hoarding and the death of print journalism.