This morning's Sacramento Bee featured a front-page article about geeks abandoning their Palms (meaning the formerly popular electronic devices used for the storage of digitized information, not the inner sides of their hands (also supposed by some to be filled with arcane data), with which objects such as PDAs or pads of paper may be cradled) in favor of old fashioned paper planners. In fact, it turns out that paper planners are now so geek-trendy that there's even a website for them!
I've never had a PDA (that's "Personal Digital Assistant", I've discovered, not "Penile Display Aggrandizer" as I once thought), so I couldn't claim to be ahead of the trend simply for using a paper planner. In fact, my life has never been sufficiently complex for me to require an actual planner of any sort- in college, I got by just scribbling my schedule and any important appointments on the inside of a Pee-Chee folder- so I am now behind on two consecutive trends. And now I'm missing the retro third trend too, which may be some sort of record.
I'm not sorry I missed the trends, though. I understand the geekish desire to be rid of annoying bits of paper and replace them with a sleek electronic device, but I also understand the desire to have one's useful information preserved in a medium not prone to crashing and unlikely to be stolen (as far as I know, fencing used paper planners is not a profitable activity - though it might be if the planner were the property of a celebrity.) The thing I don't understand is why so many people are willing to get themselves into situations in which they need planners of any sort. I guess I'm lucky they do, since such people produce much of the stuff I use (thanks, salary slaves), but their willingness to do this (apparently just for a bit more stuff than the rest of us get) is beyond my comprehension. But then, I've wasted thousands of hours posting stuff on the Internet for no apparent reason at all, so maybe I'm just being dense.
I do know that I still have paper journals from decades ago, stuffed in drawers and taking up space. It's possible that this on-line journal will not survive for as long a time as the paper journals have, unless I get a printer and make a paper copy of it. This computer will surely die eventually , and storage media such as CDs will surely become obsolete, and it's quite possible that LJ will go away or its servers suffer some disaster and lose their contents, so the whole digital mass of stuff I've written here could be lost. But then, journals are a whole different thing than planners and are probably best suited to paper, on which they can molder away in attics or closets only to be discovered (barring the unfortunate occurrence of a fire or flood or insect or fungus infestation) decades or centuries hence, little fragments of vanished worlds unexpectedly revealed for the enlightenment or, at least, the entertainment of bemused denizens of the inexplicable future.