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24 August 2023

We happened upon a rare sighting this week when we returned to our dentist's office. There on the wall was the old magazine rack, replenished with recent issues of Time, Golf Digest, Us, Parents, Eating Well and other titles lost to the mists of time.

Rack 'Em Up. iPhone 6 Plus at f2.2, 1.15 second and ISO 40. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

The rack, which has been on that wall since the practice moved there years ago, had been empty for a while. So we were surprised to see magazines in it.

Is there some sort of revival going on? Like with vinyl records?

Before there were phone screens to flip through the headlines and scroll through a story or two, there were pages and pages of magazines to flip through looking at photographs and reading the accompanying stories.

You'd get them at a newsstand or a bookstore or a drugstore or a liquor store. If you really liked a title, you'd subscribe and each new issue would be mailed to you.

We loved the things.

We'd even buy old ones from the library, which would clear out its collection every now and then with bundled stacks of them. We'd buy the Italian glossies like Epoca and Panorama. And when we were done with them, we'd give them to our auto mechanic whose wife was trying to learn the language.

We hated to throw them out.

As a compromise, we'd make clippings, tearing out the pages of articles we wanted to keep and filing them away. But it was a monumental effort. Just thinking about it again tired us.

So we sat there waiting for the dental hygienist to call us in wondering if we had time to get up, grab a copy and flip through the pages.

"Michael?" the door swung open.

No, no time at all. The era of magazines had ended.

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