Well, it’s been a week since the last copy of the paper version of The Arcadian was distributed, and the world didn’t end. A 100+ year-old tradition did, though, and there’s no way that couldn’t be bittersweet or even sad for many. This sentimental fool is among those, guilty as charged.

It’s hard to argue with the quality of the digital product, versus the age-old printed version. Isn’t the print very crisp? And how clear are the photos? No more blurry pictures that made you feel like you were trying to see 3-D photos without the special glasses. No more ink print all over your fingers either, that you’d transfer onto your pajamas or Pop Tarts when you read The Arcadian with your morning coffee. That’s gotta be worth something, right?

Of course, now you can’t grab the scissors and cut out photos of your children and grandchildren for the scrapbook. Nor can you roll the paper up to swat flies or shoo the cat off your dining room table, where he knows he’s forbidden to be, but does it just to mess with you. Also, I’m quite sure my neighbors aren’t complaining with the switch to digital, because that means they’ll be spared the sight of me walking out to get the paper off the driveway in my underwear.

I know many have been enjoying the digital version of The Arcadian and the Charlotte Sun online for years now, so there will be no transition period for them. The rest of us will adjust and move on, just like we all have to do when there are changes in our lives that we can’t control. And there’ll be a portion of folks who’ve read the printed version for many decades who are not online, nor interested in even trying to be, at their age. I wish I had an answer for that, I truly do.

Friday we had a farewell of sorts, for those of us at the office of The Arcadian. It was open to the public and refreshments were laid out, but nobody came. Yes, that made it all even sadder. We posed for a final photo that was taken by my grandson, we reminisced, and we wished each other well as we go our separate ways. Meanwhile, the phone rang time and again — calls from subscribers who mostly weren’t happy about the switch.

I can’t say it didn’t feel odd, handing my key over to editor Craig Garrett. My brain lives for metaphors, so of course my mind’s eye was picturing a door that was being locked for good, as it’s the end of an era. But keep in mind, it’s the beginning of a new era, one that was inevitable.

Also from my juxtaposed noggin I sort of see all this as a game of rock, paper, scissors. The rock represents ancient stone tablets, paper was what The Arcadian used to be printed on, and scissors hail from the pre-computer days that I recall, when the pages were painstakingly laid out by using scissors, glue, and a pica ruler. So, if rock smashes scissors, paper covers rock, and scissors cuts paper, what’s left? Why, it’s digital — it comes along and beats ‘em all.

That’s my view of it, I have to say. And after having said goodbye to old days and old ways, next week we’ll be moving on in a different topic. So buckle up, y’all, and I’ll see you in cyberspace!


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