At Home with Paper

by Barrett

Can you imagine a paperless world? Do you aspire to live in one? Are you already there? If not, please find a bit of solace in my flawed journey towards this elusive goal.

Last week, I was boarding a plane to Chicago, and I was flying with a few work colleagues. At the gate, I pulled out my paper boarding pass. My travel companions all whipped out their iPhones. They clicked to their digital boarding passes. Then, they looked at me like I was holding an ancient hieroglyphic tablet.
(And they also offered a few choice words, which I gladly stole for the title of this post.)

Hey, it’s not like l’ve never tried the digital boarding pass thing. I just didn’t get around to checking in online before I got to the airport.
(Isn’t it ironic when you don’t have the time for something that’s designed to save you time?)

And wouldn’t it be funny if I showed up with a digital boarding pass, and my iPhone was out of juice?
(Just saying)

But the truth is I still like using paper.

Memory Jogger
I just find it easier to keep track of a paper receipt that I can throw in one place with other paper receipts during a trip for later T&E reconciliation.
(Are you ready to stone me as a Luddite?)

Sure, digital receipts are cool.
(Like my Uber email receipt for my trip to the airport.)
But then you’ve got to remember to go back later into your email and retrieve them.

When something is already in physical form, it’s not as easy to forget.
(All right… I’m ready to be banished to the prison of analog misfits.)

But seriously…
Paper does have its benefits.

At Home without a Printer?
Five years ago, a friend of mine told me he didn’t own a home printer. He said he simply didn’t need one anymore. I was impressed but also annoyed.


Because I couldn’t fathom a life without the convenience of a fax/scanner/copier/printer at home.

Fast forward to the present, and you know what?
I still can’t.

Nobody Faxes Anymore?
Does anyone really need a fax machine at home? I just had this conversation last week with my 84-year-old father, when he asked me to ‘fix’ his old HP fax unit.
(It ended up just being out of ink.)

I tried to convince my dad he didn’t need one anymore, but by the time I was finished presenting my case, I had changed my mind.

Because you do.
You think you don’t, but you do.

It’s not a frequent need, for sure… probably just a couple times a year. But at the most unexpected moment, you’ll suddenly need to sign a silly (or important) form and then fax it.

I suppose you could also scan it as a PDF and email it back, but that assumes the recipient’s rules allow for that.

It’s Still Cool to Copy/Scan
Speaking of scanning, if you ever hope to live in a paperless world, you’ll need a scanner to convert all of those precious family archival photos and documents you’ve been holding onto for future generations.

Digital conversion is a huge time suck. So you might have to depend on one of your descendents to finish the job. But I’m sure they’d be mighty thankful if you did your fair share during your lifetime!

And since you can scan, you can also copy.
Tell me that you never need a copy of something.
Enough said…

Printing is Evil
Yes, I’ve progressively reduced the number of pages I’ve printed out over the years. I try to save whatever I need long term as a digital file instead of printing it out and slipping more paper into my bulging file cabinet.
(And then never looking at it again, only to throw it out ten years later)

But other times, I just want a simple, printed page for the moment. Sure, there are digital workarounds. But I can’t imagine they all take fewer steps than just “File” and “Print.”
(And then ‘grab’ and ‘go!’)

Printing is sometimes…. just faster.
(I suddenly feel a digital lighting bolt forming above my head. You should take cover.)

Physical Photos Can Warm Your Heart
And don’t tell me there’s no longer any value to printing up that priceless family photo moment from your weekend trip to the lunar colony.
(Oh… apologies… I think I was channeling fragments of the future via the Force.
I just rewatched “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes” back and Yoda’s famous line, “…There is another.” Am I the last science fiction geek in the galaxy to make the connection that this line is probably super significant to Episode 8?)

But I digress…

Of course your local chain pharmacy can print up your photos for you, but it’s so much easier to print out your one-off pics with your own photo printer.

All-In-One Printers to the Rescue
So that’s why I’m still at home with paper.
Call me crazy.

The good news is one multifunction printer can handle all of the above needs.

I’ve been a big fan of Epson all-in-one printers over the past few years. Epson’s current flagship model, which gives you “photo quality” printing is the
Epson Expression Photo XP-860.
($262.87 on Amazon)

  • Print
  • Copy
  • Scan
  • Fax
  • #Boom

Guilty As Charged!
If you have completely shed the need for paper in your life, I applaud you.
(And please tell me exactly how you do this.)

For everyone else, don’t feel guilty.
(At least not for your ongoing, messy relationship with paper)

It’s still a journey to the paperless world…