"Evidence, in the old sense. Sometimes literature in the best sense. Or maybe just a place to put your phrases. Or it’s someone else’s shopping list, at the bottom of the cart. A document can be a replacement for the body, if you’ve misplaced yours, or a loved one’s—or if you’ve sent it away once and for all. Or it’s simply an ornament on the corpse, taken from station to station, and then up the rungs of the gullet—and now waiting under the portico with the rest of us, distorting the horses. You have the annotated lighthouse and the four-part ledger, and you have the newspaper—now going the way of high-button shoes. It used to arrive as a package in waxed paper, light brown, a cylinder of sorts, fastened too carefully with a piece of string. A smart child would have taken a pair of scissors to it. I did otherwise. The New York Times, broadsheet, already down to six columns by then, but still ample enough to dominate a table. And now we have the parody, narrow and flat, in a blue plastic baggie. Soon they’ll subtract another column or two. And then they’ll simply roll a single column up the driveway, on adding-machine tape. And after that: they’ll pin a single character to your door. That exclamation point means it was a good day, or a very bad one."