In the neighbourhood where I grew up one of the most coveted jobs was that of “paper boy”. J. McC had it pretty much tied up for a number of years and he was the shit. I mean all the girls had crushes on him and people were lined up to take his place when he moved on. I really, really wanted to be the “anointed one”, but that honour went to A. P., a true-blue geek from up the street. I did, however, get the chance to take the route over for 6 weeks one summer. All illusions were shattered. My dad’s tales of delivering the paper sounded so romantic and Jamie had cultivated such a cool image with his punch cards when he came to collect each week that I thought this was going to be the Best. Job. Ever. WRONG —- it sucked!!!!!!! I had to get up at 5 Monday to Saturday, collect the papers from the corner, insert all the bloody flyers and then fold the stupid papers for delivery. Then walk around the neighbourhood making sure that I put this paper under the third mat to the left, and that paper inside the screen door, etc., etc., etc. And because it was summer, lots of people were away and so I had to keep track of that and that also meant that any tips I might get for doing the deliveries went way down. I think that I made maybe $100 in the 6-week period. So not worth it.

Fast forward 2 years. I am home for the first time since going away to boarding school; it is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, which is Columbus Day down south. When I get in the house on Friday night my mum is all “guess what? Alexander had to go away for the weekend so I told him that you would be thrilled to deliver the Saturday papers!” Was she on crack????? I gave my mum a look that only 14-year-old girls can give their mothers and refused. I was holiday, dammit!! Didn’t she realize that I had been away from home for almost 2 months, toiling away at school and needed a break? Jeez!!!! What to do, what to do. “No problem,” said my dad “Susie, we’ll deliver them. It will be just like when I was in school …”

[You see, my dad had delivered the Montreal Gazette throughout his high school, university and maybe even law school careers. It was his fault that I thought it would be such a great gig. My mum was skeptical, but she was the one who promised delivery coverage, so …]

The rest of this story is second hand because I was sleeping while it happened.

Saturday morning arrived and my parents got up with the birds and headed out on their paper route. Now my mum is not what one would call a “morning person” so the thought of her out there, pulling a wagon laden with extra large Saturday papers is quite funny. And my dad? Well he lives for mornings so he was literally whistling a happy tune and being all nostalgic and goofy as he tossed those bad boys on to people’s front stoops (no under the mat or between the doors for him). All was going pretty smoothly until they got to the last stretch of houses. As my dad was coming up the walkway of this particular house he looked up and saw someone else sneaking down the walkway. They both stopped, looked at each other and time pretty much stood still. You see, the person sneaking out of this particular house was not the husband of the woman who lived in this house. In fact, he was the husband of a woman who lived about 10 blocks away and the husband who belonged at this particular house was out of town. BUSTED!!!!

“Bob (not real name), life’s tough all over. You’ve just gotta do what you gotta do” and he continued delivering papers. Nothing was ever said, but there were a couple of divorces over the next year or so.

We still laugh about this (not the divorce part, but the getting busted part cause come on, it’s funny) and my dad’s thoughts are along the lines of what was more shocking: successful shit-hot senior partner corporate lawyer dude caught delivering the paper with his wife (it was the early 80’s and we were in the middle of a rather brutal recession) or successful shit-hot senior partner lawyer dude being caught with his pants down?

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