Confessions Of An Unrepentant Addict

Well, me going cold turkey in canceling my subscription with the L.A. Times lasted all of two weeks. No, I’m not going back. Not yet at least. But being that my newsprint addiction is lifelong and irreversible, I can’t go any longer without a fix — and sorry, but all the internet news out there does not replace the literal and tactile and olfactory joy of holding and perusing an actual paper.

That’s right, I even love the smell of ’em.

The words told me by George Lucas, the Herald Examiner distributor who gave me my first job, still ring true.

“Don’t even think about looking at the porn in my briefcase!”

No, that’s not it. Before he told me that he told me something else back in 1977 as he smoked filterless Camels and drove me around in a beat up Ford F150 truck showing me what would be my paper route. “People may not know where their next meal is coming from,” he said. “Or their next pair of shoes. They may not even know whether they’ll be sleeping in a bed or on a bus bench. But people will always want their newspaper.”

Champions of the online news revolution may scoff at such sentiment as quaint at best and extinct at worst. But I know it isn’t. It’s alive and well in me today. I want my newspaper.

So first I thought about keeping my source local and going with the Daily News — and I probably would’ve had someone over there thought to put a subscription page on their website. But instead the only sign-up option I was given online was a tollfree number to call and good grief but I imagined getting connected to a call center in Manila or Mumbai with someone wrestling to subdue a marked accent with painfully perfect grammar whose name was not Eddie or Nan or Brendan even though that’s what they’d say it was.

Instead I went to the big dawg. The New York Times. I have never before subscribed to the New York Times, mainly because it is hella expensive. My L.A. Times rate was an awesome $99 a year, which works out to about 27 cents an issue. The New York Times “special introductory” offer is $6.70 a week for 12 weeks — or about $1 an issue — and after that it’ll double!

That’s a lotta paper for a paper.

But this morning when I looked out on the front steps and saw today’s issue sitting there waiting for me I didn’t doubt its worth, nor my willingness to pay such a premium. I was just happy to see it, and will be at least for the next four months. I can’t say at this stage if I’ll pony up $2 an issue after that, but maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll give the Los Angeles Times another look. By then, the changes that resulted in my breaking things off will be implemented and maybe at that time I’ll find my first love better for it.

I doubt it. But we’ll see.