The War of the Filing Cabinets May Never End


The War of the Filing Cabinets May Never End

Paper or electronic, the bitter conflict

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I am not an unreasonable man. I am calm and agreeable. I possess unusual patience and am always ready to listen to another person’s point of view.

There are limits, of course. Some actions that people might take are too far beyond the pale, too “out there”, too abominable as to be beyond my tolerance. As I am a reasonable man, all right-thinking persons would agree with me if they encountered such incredible things in their own lives.

Or in their marriage, as it happens.


I prefer to eschew paper records. My wife, however, embraces paper, nay, loves paper, desires paper, demands paper.

You might rightfully ask, “Why did you marry the deranged wench?”

I did not know

In my defense, we were married in 1967. In that distant time, one had no choice but paper. Books were printed on paper. Bills arrived in fat envelopes stuffed with paper. Magazines and catalogs clogged our mailbox. Shopping lists were written on paper. We even used filthy paper money to buy things, if you can believe it!

I had to read an ungainly newspaper from which my wife clipped paper coupons. We were buried in paper and there was no escape!

This is not 1967

No, indeed, this is many decades later, long past the invention of the internet, long past the advent of multi-terabyte storage, long past cloud services. We have paperless billing, digital books, digital magazines, websites, Apple Pay, direct deposit, and more.

Why, then, I ask, do my wife and I still have an over-stuffed filing cabinet?

Our filing cabinet

I have set the proper example

All of my accounts are electronic. I receive no paper statements or bills except those few from miserable tech ignorant companies that should be disbanded and jailed. I buy e-books. I have no paper magazine subscriptions.

My wife, intransigent woman that she is, refuses to give up her beloved paper. Refuses! Adamantly refuses! One would think she might be a modern Rip Van Winkle suddenly awakening in this modern age. She gets catalogs!

And the onslaught from the mail is not even the half of it. We have three — yes, three! — printers and nary a day passes without one or more of these infernal machines burping up page after page of something my wife must save!

I am at a loss

I have consulted counsel. It seems that this alone is not grounds for divorce and truthfully, were it not for this fault, I am fond of the little woman. Moderately fond; it has been more than fifty years that we have cohabitated.

I have tried reason. I have presented cogent arguments: electronic records do not require a large piece of office equipment whose drawers resist opening or proper closing and is far too heavy to move. Electronic records can be stored as pictures and yet IOS 15 and Monterey can search the text portion.

Electronic records are safer: they can be stored in multiple places, here, there, wherever. No imaginable disaster could destroy all of their repositories at once.

But she remains stalwartly opposed. Foolishly opposed, I am sure you would agree. So I turn to you, my faithful readers, in search of advice:

How does one deal with such outrageous behavior? Let me know in the comments or, if you have subscribed to receive these posts by email, you can respond privately from your mailbox.

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