Where Have You Gone Dave Concepcion?

Big Red Machine Shortstop Dave Concepcion

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved newspapers.

Not the online version, but the physical paper—-ink, ads, and smudges.

Over the years, I have watched our local newspapers shrink and that has hurt our sense of community and frankly our Democracy too.

When it’s easier to find out what’s happening in Ukraine than it is to know what’s happening at City Hall that’s not a good thing. We need to know as much as we can about both Kyiv and Boca/Delray.

But through it all, through the layoffs and shrinking local news hole, there was always the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

I love both papers.

The writing, the in-depth reporting, the investigative journalism, the photography, and the sheer amount of news from all corners of the globe.

As a subscriber to both papers (and USA Today too for the sports and entertainment news), I’ve come to rely on the papers every day.

I never thought it would end.  But then again what lasts forever?

Apparently, the great employee shortage has hit the newspaper delivery business. I just can’t get the papers delivered. So, this week, after weeks of calls, complaints and credits I reluctantly pulled the plug. Sort of.

I fired USA Today, which became so thin you could read it cover to cover in five minutes. I put the Times on warning—miss one more Sunday and your done and I worked a deal with the Journal that has them mailing me the paper. Remarkably, I get the paper the same day it’s printed, except of course when there is a weekend or holiday then I get Saturday’s paper on Tuesday. Sigh.

I know I sound like an old crank, but so much of what I once enjoyed is fading away.

Movies—- in a real theater.



Record stores.

Chicken wings that don’t cost $6 bucks a piece.

I remember when baseball was relevant and can still recite the starting lineup of the Big Red Machine (a Hall of Fame infield except for poor Dave Concepcion).

Today, baseball is canceling games (post-Covid!) because they can’t figure out how to carve up billions of dollars at the same time young fans are moving onto other interests.

Why would baseball hurt itself like this? It would be like Delray shutting down Old School Square and bringing the Boca Museum to the  heart of our city….oh wait bad example. That’s happening.

Oh well, it was sure good while it lasted.

And we do have the memories, don’t we?

We live in an era of constant change and I’m good with most of it.

I love the new restaurants, novel concepts like food halls and the emergence of boutique hotels and craft cocktails.  Have you tried the “Trail Mix Mai Tai” at Driftwood in Boynton Beach? Who knew that macadamia, almond, banana, and lime could work so well together?

Yes, I have one foot in the here and now, but the other is cemented in nostalgia. Sometimes I get stuck.

Still, I’d sooner leave home without my wallet than my iPhone and I love how whenever I have a question Alexa is there to fill in the blanks.

When I hear a  new song, I fire up my Shazam app and it leads me to Spotify where I can add that song to my personal playlists. I do miss Neil Young on Spotify and if given a choice I would choose Neil over Joe Rogan every time, but that subject is for another day.

So, I’m not a technophobe, even if I still long for the best of the old days and a lot of what I stream was recorded fifty plus years ago.

(Exceptions include Jason Isbell, Leon Bridges, The Lumineers and Nathaniel Rateliff among others.) I do listen to new music, contrary to the accusations of my friends.

But something has shifted since Covid. Something fundamental and I believe lasting.

We broke some old habits and adopted some new ones.

One of the habits appears to be work.

Have you been anywhere recently? There’s no help to be found. Understaffed restaurants, hotels without enough personnel, professional offices that are desperate to fill key positions.

I read in the Wall Street Journal (on the rare day it showed up) that 4.5 million people roughly around my age (50 something) retired during the pandemic. With their stocks soaring and their home prices higher than ever they woke up one day and said, “that’s enough.”

So, they left their careers and are busy pursuing QTR (quality time remaining). Who can blame them?

We live in a world where someone can pick up a virus in a wet market in Wuhan, China and a few months later they can be a statistic.

Might as well sell your house and move. But where?

Maybe north?

But it’s not just the boomers who are opting out, offices are going remote and while that may be an appealing option for many, I do wonder what it does to company culture and to our social lives and mental health.

Many millennials are stuck behind screens and can live anywhere as a result.

Some have opted out of the race and get by living on their parents’ couches and taking work in the gig economy.

Two plus years of no events, no in person meetings and limited socializing have changed something very fundamental about who we are.

For example, my hometown, Delray has always been a very social place with lots of things to do.

But the calendar, while still full, is no longer full of social events and our gathering place Old School Square is dark. I know, I promised not to write about OSS anymore. But it’s ironic that the community’s gathering place is now devoid of—community.

So where will this all lead? And what problems will we need to solve?

We will need to figure out how young people get a foothold in the real estate market— not an easy task in a red hot location where prices seem to soar daily.

I saw a house sell recently for over $2 million in Osceola Park. Wow.

I hear our local public schools are barely half full, that’s a sea change from a few short years ago when we were debating where to put all those portables.

Yes, this place and this world is changing.

I wonder where it’s all going and how we’ll navigate the currents.

As for newspapers, I remember when kids coveted a paper route. You couldn’t get a Newsday route when I was growing up on Long Island.

Those days are long gone. Now apparently, the newspapers can’t field a team. Another nail in the heart for print journalism. Ugh.



  1. Marianne Regan says

    Sigh, just like with the advent of texting, spelling has also gone the way of the dinosaurs. Why have one word with two different spellings (and meanings) when just one word will do? I weep over the daily losses in the English language. Example: …..put the Times on warning—miss one more Sunday and your done. The word should be “you’re” done, not your done. But, I guess I’m just an old crank, too, Jeff. Hugs!

  2. Susan Ruby says

    Change can be so discomforting . I’ve been through a lot of change lately. It’s not easy to be sure.Those that adapt seem to be those that continue to have an upbeat attitude. That’s just what I’ve observed. As to newspapers.. I daily get the Post and the New York times and most of my books and reading info material online…. After awhile it is satisfying… As to Old School Square! It’s a shame to close a community gathering place when it is sorely needed. 😊

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Dear Susan,
      I know about your changes…you are always in our thoughts. I agree about the need to adapt and also the need to renew some of those old values. Jeff

  3. Beautiful. You read my mind. What a beautiful and kind way to say what’s really happening. Customer service has gone the way of the Edsel. And yes the world has been changed by Covid. What a wonderful way to explain the state of affairs. PS. When kids delivered papers they weren’t coding on computers and making big bucks. They were happy with a paper route that paid for a few soft drinks at the soda fountain. Now kids set their sites on making apps and cashing in for a sports car. The soda fountain has been turned into a car dealer.

  4. Debbie Stern says

    I just love your blog, Jeff! You always hit the nail right on the head and in this case I just had to comment because I am having the exact same experience with my newspaper delivery. It’s only the lowly Sun sentinel but I want – no I need – to have a physical newspaper on my doorstep every morning. And for some reason – and I found out it’s due to the lack of carriers – It’s just not happening. I have fought with customer service, distribution and circulation. And now I’m finally getting sporadic delivery. But why has such a simple pleasure become a major headache? As a fellow newspaper junkie, I feel your pain.

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