April 25, 2006

Putting The Pap In Paperboys

From The Washington Post: Paperboy Has Gone the Way of the Milkman

"WASHINGTON -- A young teen riding his bike at dawn reaches into his shoulder bag, grabs a tightly folded newspaper and deftly throws it to the front steps."

Whoa, a newspaper discussing newspaper delivery? That is crazy-ass meta.

"It's an image as American as apple pie, but the paperboy has gone the way of the milkman."

What the hell is this garbage? And why is it in the Washington Post?

"Today's papers usually arrive by anonymous drive-and-toss."

The drive-and-toss, of course, is slightly worse than the smash-and-grab, but relatively innocuous compared to the far more dangerous hit-and-run.

"In the 1950s, Henry Petroski earned the then-lucrative sum of $20 a week delivering the Long Island Press each afternoon and Sunday morning. The job taught him how to deal with people and money, as well as how to fold a paper.

'It wasn't that easy; the first few times the paper would open in the air and would fall apart," said Petroski, now a Duke University professor and author of a memoir,
Paperboy: Confessions of a Future Engineer."

HA! So what you're suggesting is, being a paperboy as a kid will make you a prestigious university professor as an adult? Wow, that is such a fatuous connection to make, I don't think anyone could ever top it.

"President Truman, actors John Wayne and Bob Hope, and baseball star Willie Mays all had paper routes when they were young. So did TV journalist Tom Brokaw, cartoon great Walt Disney and investment whiz Warren Buffett."

HOLY TOLEDO! That is a mega-whammy of a slam dunk of a home run! We had better get kids delivering papers again posthaste, or the moral and intellectual fibre of America will unravel disastrously around us!

"[Stacey] Rufe, 34, never knows where to expect her paper, or even what paper she'll get… She said she's received The Financial Times, The New York Times and The Korean Times, many times in lieu of her preferred Post.

Yes, she can call the Post to complain, but 'If I knew who my carrier was, I could call him,' she said."

"I mean," continued Rufe, "Without a proper, local paperboy, you really lose that valuable, community-building feeling you get from yelling the crap out the neighbour's kid. It's just not as much fun complaining to some anonymous telephone operator somewhere-- you have to be able to see the tears welling up in their eyes."

Seriously, if anyone can explain to me what journalistic merit this article has, I would love to hear from you.


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