Is the paperboy dead?
Here is one part of my life which is being carried out to sea by history. In the early 80s, I made a couple thousand dollars delivering newspapers. It taught me to set my alarm, be on time, and get the papers delivered intact to the right address.
The papers got dropped off in a bundle and thrown from a truck, at the corner bar. I cut the chord from the bundle, removed the cover sheet, and stuffed the papers in a sling worn around my shoulder. I was about 12, so on Sundays, I had to do this in two batches since the papers were so heavy.
On the east coast, we had row homes. This made life easy for the paperboy: a city block was really just one solid block of houses, divided by waist-high railings I could hop over. So I moved from porch to porch, quickly depositing the papers inside the screen door for safe-keeping.
I had over 100 daily subscribers and on a good day, I could finish my route in twenty minutes. I returned home with an empty sling, scrubbed the ink off my arms, and went back to bed. As a first job, it was good money.
I spent my money on skateboarding equipment, James Bond books, and later, Dungeons and Dragons modules.
Many years later, I went back to the newspaper looking for work again, as a reporter. My mom worked there, and set up an appointment for me and the editor. I was nervous as hell, fresh out of college, and terribly enthusiastic. I turned up with a draft of a story I had written about a castle out in the country where some eccentric guy and his idiot brother had taken up residence, and later attracted members of the occult, from Philadelphia. The story was draped in mystery, but the editor looked constipated as he tried to read it, as though my writing physically hurt him.
He turned me away and suggested I try a smaller newspaper called The East Penn Press. But they were utterly lame, and my pride was hurt.
Later that afternoon I got a call though, from the editor of The East Penn Press saying she had an assignment for me and could I be on the scene that evening? It remains one of the top three happiest moments of my life, more so than graduating from college, on par with the birth of my kids and getting married.