Credit: Flickr Commons / The Library of Congress

I feel like being a complete jerk this week. Why? Because I am in the process of doing my taxes and the Canada Revenue Agency website is about as clear as a contestant’s handwriting in Final Jeopardy. Being all frustrated at this entire process, I am taking it all out on you guys, the readers, by talking about everybody’s favourite exciting topic—paper.

We use paper for everything from wiping butternut squash off the table to lathering our sweaty bodies with 50 dollar bills after a run through our private estate in Bora Bora. The latter hasn’t actually happened for me but would have if I’d won the $48 million jackpot the other day. Nonetheless, it is no surprise the “Saving a Tree” movement is still one of the biggest topics on sustainability. In recent times, there has been a huge effort to go paperless. For those of you that decided to lock yourself in a room for several years and watch all the episodes of Law & Order, this means most of your reading material can now be read on a screen.

Going paperless

Going paperless is great for sustainability and, in my opinion, so much more convenient. I love not having stacks and stacks of bills and receipts that I have to file and possibly lose. I love not having to print 30 copies of my resume on shiny paper and re-do it again every time I change it. I love not having to ask for a pen at a club when getting a phone number. I feel good for left-handed people, who don’t have to look so weird all the time when they smudge their hand while writing things. Wow, I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I like filing my taxes without having to fill out that dreaded booklet.

Paperless TP?

All these great things about going paperless aren’t terribly surprising to anybody—I hope. However, I do think that while most things can go paperless, there are some things I would actually prefer stay in paper form. The first is Origami (the Japanese art of making cute animals out of paper). If you can make a frog jumping into a seagull’s mouth with paper, you deserve to have that paper. The second is toilet paper for obvious reasons. The third is textbooks and novels (or other recreational reading materials). Oh, snap! I feel tension in the air. Before anybody does anything rash like throw biodegradable rocks through my window, let me explain…

I hate studying or reading a novel by looking at a computer screen. It’s uncomfortable. My eyes get tired looking at a monitor, and although laptops are somewhat portable, they get clunky and impractical if you’re going to the beach or camping. I like the feel of flipping pages when reading a novel. I also like the fact that falling asleep while reading a textbook doesn’t leave square imprints on your forehead like falling asleep while reading on a computer would do. I know I am not the only person out there that feels the same about this. That is the dilemma.

Perhaps some ingenious technology will fix this moving forward? Like a device that feels like a book, flips like a book, smells like a book, contains the contents of whatever material you are currently reading in that book format but, in fact, is a toaster.