One of my first paying gigs as a kid was delivering the local paper. For maybe a year or two I shared this responsibility with my older sister and younger brother. I still remember the delivery truck dropping our route’s stack of newspapers at our doorstep before sunrise. From there we rapidly tuck-rolled each paper and like cords of firewood filled the front and back pouches of the canvas delivery vest. It was a relatively easy route; four cul de sac streets, a couple apartment complexes and some outlaying developments – still a fair amount of work for kids (and helpful parents) willing to earn a dollar.
I didn’t mind the delivery, it was collecting subscription fees that really stunk. I still remember going door-to-door with that ring-bound book of perforated date tabs printed on index card-sized pages each bearing the subscriber’s name and address. I recall knocking timidly on all those subscriber’s doors awaiting an answer and simply uttering the word ‘collect’ when someone did. Looking back I think they despised the whole process as much as we did. In fact, I would bet that many simply didn’t answer to delay having to pay for the paper. I really didn’t care if they did, because it made the unpleasant task much shorter.
As miserable as delivering fish wrap was, it did require a lot of values that I wish to teach my boys. I don’t know that I’ll ever encourage them to don the canvas delivery vest anytime soon to hoof through the neighborhood during the wee hours of daybreak, but a good dose of responsibility beyond doing household chores would certainly prepare them more for the adult responsibilities of employment… On second thought, do households of delivery boys get a FREE subscription?