Ask for permission to tear a sheet of newspaper.
Paper is made by spreading wet wood fibers over a flat screen and shaking the screen from side to side. The shaking makes many of the long fibers line up in one direction. When the fibers dry, they stick together side by side. When you tear the paper, it’s easier to pull the fibers apart lengthwise, like strings of licorice, than it is to pull the other way and break the fibers.
Photo by: Nannette Bedway