I did not think about it too much until I was watching my Dad dying, but I bet my fascination with newspapers came from him. Or, as I once put it in a column I wrote, "I have ink in my veins due to my father."
Why is this a big deal to me?
I entered the writing field, became a liberal (a pacifist even), and protested against societal norms in my own way because I wanted to rebel against my conservative, engineer father. He wanted me to be a computer scientist. He wanted me to see why President Reagan was right and I was wrong. I wouldn't give in to his rhetorical pushes. It wasn't stubbornness; I just felt sure I was right and he was wrong. And he disagreed.
This scenario repeated itself for years. He would bring home the libertarian Orange County Register, the conservative Wall Street Journal, and the more liberal Los Angeles Times. He'd get home from work about seven and be asleep by nine. But during that time, we'd both pore through the newspapers. If he saw an article or column that reflected some point he wanted to make, or reinforced his argument, he'd rip it out and hand it to me. And I'd do the same to him. Many was the day when I would wake to find a stack of dog-eared newspapers on the kitchen counter waiting to be read by me so I could learn the error of my ways - about Reagan, the Star Wars initiative, etc. At night we would debate the issues over whatever food he picked up on the way home. God, I miss those conversations. Now when I pick up a newspaper each day or see a stack of unread newspapers, I think of him.
Maybe I didn't become a Republican or enter the sciences. I worked in a profession he may not have shown respect for (many was the time he rallied against reporters for oversimplifying issues), but one he appreciated.