Thursday, August 31, 2006

Paperboy, Version 1.0

I never had a paper route as a kid. I also never played Little League baseball. Somehow, I managed to grow up without becoming a communist.
As a adult, however, I have twice attempted to make ends meet while living on a reporter's salary by taking up a paper route. Both times, I survived, but I did send one overpriced 1996 Hyundai Elantra to an early junkyard grave.
Of the two paper routes, the first one wasn't all that bad of a deal. I'd pick up a bunch of stacks of papers at the office of the newspaper where I was a reporter and deliver them to about 20 convenience stores and gas stations around town, collecting the returns and money. Other than having to get up to pick up the papers at 6 a.m., it was a pretty low-stress way to earn a little extra money for about three hours of work. Except for the manager of the Extra Mart, the people at the stories were friendly enough.
But yeah, the manager of the Extra Mart. I've worked as a reporter for about a dozen years, and the only screaming match I've ever gotten into was with a red-faced little tyrant who was mad that I dropped off his stack of newspapers too early in the morning. I think what really set him off was that one week, he told me he didn't want me to deliver the papers until after 7 a.m., so the next week, I showed up at about two minutes past seven. I think he thought I was being a wise-ass, but really, this time, I wasn't.
Red-faced guy starts screaming at me that my paper is the only one he's ever had problems with, that I don't listen, I yell back that he told me to show up after seven and it was after seven, his face gets even redder as he yells that I know that's not what I meant and to just take the damn papers out of the store, he doesn't want them, I yell back, fine, I'll take the damn papers, scoop them all off the floor and slam the door behind me, inserts spilling out onto the floor of the Extra Mart behind me. I bet friggin' Woodward and Bernstein never got yelled at by the owner of the Extra Mart.
But, you know, other than that, delivering stacks of papers to stores wasn't all that bad. Of course, it was either near the tail end of being delivery man or shortly after that the transmission in my Hyundai gave out. At the time, I did not realize that one was related to the other. That revelation would hit me during my days as Paperboy, Version 2.0.

To be continued...


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