07/27/06 - posted by jb
David Bowie once sang "all the young dudes, carry the news" and a recent post reminded me of the trials and tribulations of being a "paper boy."

I briefly had a News-Call Bulletin route and can recall the length and lack of stealth to which some folks would go in avoiding the monthly collections. Same crowd you see palming their offering when the basket is passed in church. It was like attending Deadbeat University, hearing the lame excuses people came up with to not pay their bills...It wasn't my fault the news was bad: I only delivered it and, in retrospect, with a considerable amount of responsibility, reliability and respect.

Some folks were real characters. I remember one man who had a Mynah bird that whistled and swore like a sailor.
One lady always baked cookies on Monday but set the limit at "just one now" because she was trying to educate me into the social graces, of which an urchin of my lowly social station was clearly devoid. Or more-likely, trying to drive her abusive husband to a myocardial infarction and cash in on his life insurance. If she budgeted her money like her cookies, she is probably now living in Tiburon with a young artist and a phony French accent.

Yeah, I was a regular Oliver Twist, reading the funnies before I'd deliver my first tomahawk missile with bottle-rattling precision to porches that defied gravity. But to my credit, I never stiffed a kid for $2.00

Any of you other newsies have some memories to share? With the way papers are folding today, we may be the last of a dying breed.
[ Next Message ] [ Last Message ]
[ Back to message list ]
The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.