cease to exist before long. By the end of next year you won't get a paper like that," my youngest Nephew Cat informed his grandfather.
The Senior Cat is appalled by this idea. No paper to read at the breakfast table? How will he get any news?
It has to be explained here that the Senior Cat has ceased to listen to the news on radio and he no longer watches it on television either. He slides over the most distressing pieces in the paper telling me,
"I'm too old to fill my mind with that sort of thing anymore." Well, he has lived through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and plenty of natural disasters as well.
But where will he get even a limited amount of news from? The same goes for a great many other people I know, even some of those who do know how to turn a computer on.
Our state newspaper is really pretty awful - think the old News of the World or the Sun perhaps. It's full of gossip. Recently there have been far too many not very clever puns in the head-lines that simply confuse people who are not from English speaking backgrounds or are a bit slow on the uptake. I can read the paper in about five minutes...at least as much of it as I need to read. I scan the major headlines. I ignore those concerned with an analysis of the last or next football match. I find the letters, the editorial (to see how much they have lifted from something I have written), a couple of columnists who do have something worth saying and then I hunt for the paper's take on international news - hidden far into the depths of the paper. It almost always amounts to nothing - and it is often seriously inaccurate.
After that there is just one thing left to read - the summary of the "dispatched" notices. I read this solely because I know far too many older people and so does the Senior Cat. It is, I think, this which bothers him most. If there isn't a daily paper how will he be able to keep up with the death notices? It isn't something he wants to know but, as he puts it, "I don't want to upset anyone by saying the wrong thing and asking after someone who has died."
Will, as Nephew Cat suggests, such information just be available weekly? Or, will it be available "on-line" and, if so, how will the elderly who are not really that computer literate - if they are computer literate at all - manage?
There is an increasing assumption that everyone can use a computer and that they have ready access to one but that is far from correct. I know too that, as another elderly and long gone friend said of the death notices, "I need to read them each morning to see whether I am still here - or not."