The Polk Progress was a Nebraska treasure that ceased publication in late 1989 after 82 years as a weekly newspaper. From 1955 until its last issue, the editor and publisher was the late Norris Alfred. In its last few months, the Progress had 900 subscribers in 45 states. Alfred was a remarkable Nebraskan with an uncanny eye for connecting the present with the future. Prairie Fire has collaborated with the Alfred family, the University of Nebraska School of Journalism and the Nebraska State Historical Society to locate and archive many of Norris's writings. We are capitalizing on our good fortune to present many of the Norris Alfred writings to our readership. We believe that his observations are as fresh and relevant to today's world as they were when originally written.
March 2, 1972
Man has evolved from crawling to standing to sitting. This is the peak. To be able to live sitting down. Nearly everyone exits this life in a prone position, or hopes to (we have never heard of a head-first or feet-first burial) and as long as they can stay awake, they fight stretching out on their back for fear someone will put a lily in their hand and read an obituary.
No one can stand very long; no one wants to lie down and stare at the ceiling; no one wants to go back to crawling on all fours; the only solution is to sit. Sit and do; sit and think about doing; sit and think about doing but don’t sit and don’t think; sit. This is the solution to pollution, to war, to waste…
Again, we are wandering at this typewriter. What we had in mind was detailing evidence of civilization’s imminent collapse even though man has reached his peak of development. There is no question in our mind but that a civilization is suspect that needs colored toilet paper. And on that Major Suspicion we end thinking these profound thoughts and just sit.