Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where's the Paperboy?

When did newspaper delivery change?

Growing up, the newspaper was delivered by breakfast time by a neighborhood boy on a bicycle [I understand that some places had afternoon papers, but I am not personally familiar with such foreign customs.]

He had a large canvas bag imprinted with the name of the newspaper looped around his handlebars filled with papers folded in thirds with one end tucked inside the other. As he bicycled down your block he threw a newspaper generally toward each customer’s front porch. Many comics and TV shows had funny bits based on the misplacement of the thrown newspapers.

Somewhere along the way women’s lib hit the ranks of newspaper boys when girls also became newspaper carriers. “Leave It to Beaver” even had a show based on the Cleavers having a girl delivering their newspaper.

Every Saturday your carrier would collect the week’s bill; either you put the money outside in a special envelop or he came to the door and collected in person: “Mom, the paperboy’s here for his money!”

I don’t remember when our newspaper carrier morphed into an adult using a car – a rather nice car – to deliver our paper to the foot of our driveway before dawn. It had to do with newspaper delivery becoming too dangerous for children and children being too busy for the job.


I went online looking for the paperboy and found that, according to Wikipedia, in 1984 he became an Atari arcade game where "...The players take on the role of a paperboy who delivers newspapers along a suburban street on his bicycle...".

Another Wikipedia entry also states that: "Today, with the latest child labor laws, paperboys are sometimes referred to as "independent businessmen.'"

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