Rubber Bands and Money. That's All I Remember.

I remember when people used to pay me for stuff. Like when I was 11 and I had a paper route.Those really were the glory days. Rubber bands and money. That's all I remember. But then I remember the money being gone after I went to the book store. It's true other 11 year olds spend money on cooler things than books, but where are all those 11 year olds now? Dead or in jail. I'm telling you this because it's true, and because I care about your children. But not in the same way Michael Jackson cared about your children.

I kept my paper route clear through high school. Lesser people would've given up on their paper route when it was no longer "in vogue" and other kids started "punching them in the neck during lunch" and "calling them Ugly Poop," but I don't believe in doing things because they make people love you. I believe in doing things because they're intrinsically awesome. Paper routes don't really fit into this paradigm, because they don't make people love you, and they're intrinsically juvenile and stupid. And they don't build character, either,  (dude, seriously, all you do is roll paper and throw it -- that builds autism, not character). Regardless, I kept my paper route. And I got paid for it. Except I had to collect my income door-to-door from my customers.

Me: Hi I'm the paper boy and I'm collecting money.
Confused old person with house that smells like Ovaltine and codine: Aren't you a little old for a paper route? [Except it's really hard to understand him, because he is so aged and his teeth are made of linoleum.]
Me: Yes. But I don't have any life skills yet. That's why I'm saving for college except I'm not saving for college I'm spending all my money on Smashing Pumpkins CDs and bowling.
Confused old person with house that smells like Ovaltine and codine: Which paper do you deliver?
Me: I don't really know. I've never looked at it. Look, Encino Man, I'm in it for the money, not Dear Abbey, okay?
Confused old person with house that smells like Ovaltine and codine: How much do I owe you?
Me: Two dollars [since that wintry 1985 day on the K-12, all newspaper subscriptions cost two dollars].
Confused old person with house that smells like Ovaltine and codine: Okay, here. [Hands over two dollars].
Me: [Taking the money, then pumping both fists with knees bent, eyes scrunched closed, and an Elvis sneer smeared across my upper lip] Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss...
Me: [Later, at the bowling alley, after I knock down seven pins with one throw, pumping both fists with knees bent, eyes scrunched closed, and an Elvis sneer smeared across my upper lip, clutching Siamese Dream in one hand and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in the other, and balancing Pices Iscariot on my nose] Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss...

Those days are gone though, my friends. Nobody pays me anymore. I had greater earning power as a bespectacled 'tween with huge front teeth and oversized Air Jordans back when Michael Jordan could literally aviate from one end of the court to the other without touching the ground (and perform loops at will, notwithstanding the high G-forces) than I can as a law student. I'm currently editing academic papers written by Europeans who are sort of not quite there yet with their English. It's a lot harder than a paper route, yet I get paid three dollars an hour less than I did as a paperboy (I got paid three dollars an hour as a paperboy). It's a good thing things don't cost very much anymore.

Good news though. I still have two kidneys in case things get dicey.