Updating the Old Newspaper-Birdcage Joke

Always ready for a good walk.

When Maddie asks a bartender which Baltimore paper he prefers, he tells her he likes The Beacon. “It’s the thickest,” he says, “and I’ve got a parakeet.”

—The ending of Stephen King’s review of Laura Lippman’s novel, Lady in the Lake, in the Sunday New York Times Book Review.
Why Dog Owners Really Love Newspapers

A DC parallel to the fictional Baltimore parakeet owner who subscribes to a newspaper to line his bird’s cage: I live in a Washington neighborhood where many of us have dogs and they pretty much have to be walked twice a day and you better carry at least one plastic bag for the picking up after the dog does what dogs do.

We subscribe to three newspapers, and each morning I walk out to the curb to pick up the papers tossed from a truck speeding through the neighborhood. (Missing the neighborhood newspaper carriers of the 20th century who put the paper—not in a plastic bag—on the front porch is another story.)

Getting three papers gives me what may be a lifetime supply of plastic bags—I can’t bear to throw them out, thinking I never want to walk our dog Cruiser without a plastic bag in my pocket and who knows when the last print newspaper will be published.

I’ll miss sitting on the back porch, drinking a cup of coffee and reading the print newspapers. But I may miss the plastic bags most of all.


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