Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What is that Smell?

Yesterday we left a young version of me desperately wanting one of those shiny new Nintendo Entertainment Systems, but not having any way to come up with the money for one.

Back then, my parents were having none of my whining about needing an NES. After all, they were expensive and it wasn't like I was lacking for toys or things to entertain myself with.

I spent what seemed like months begging to be able to get one. I would regale my Dad with tales of the wonders of Super Mario Brothers and how much he would like playing it (which in my defense, he did). I would offer to spend all my allowance for the upcoming year on it. I would try any tact I could think of.

Eventually my parents acquiesced, at least as much as my parents ever did when me or my sister started whining incessantly about something. They agreed that I could spend my own money on a Nintendo. Of course the wrinkle was that I didn't have anywhere near the $100 (?) I needed, and they knew it. That lead to the meat of their plan, that I would work for the money.

Now, this wasn't 'working' around the house doing odd jobs for money. No, this was an honest to goodness real job, delivering papers. Of course, since we lived in the suburbs you couldn't do the traditional biking paper route. No, you needed to have a car and drive around for miles and miles delivering papers. That meant I needed a parent involved, and my Dad made the sacrifice to ruin his weekends by getting up at 3am to deliver papers with me.

Since my Dad was helping (and it was his car), we split the money from the paper route. Further, I could only spend half of that money on things of my choosing (I.E. an NES). The other half had to go in a bank account. Are you getting the impression that perhaps my parents didn't think buying a Nintendo was such a good plan?

Anyways, so my Dad and I ended up in charge of a local weekend paper route. Initially I was pretty excited about the whole deal. I could already see the money rolling in, and the NES was practically as good as mine. Then we had to actually do the route, and after the first couple weeks the newness wore off and we discovered that delivering papers sucks.

First off, you have to get up before the ass crack of dawn. I believe we were getting up at like 2:30 or 3:00am on both Saturday and Sunday, then we would deliver papers until around 6:30 or so, and then head back to bed. But by that time you were wide awake from hanging out a car door in the chilly Minnesota morning air for 3 hours. Plus, you had to spend several hours on Saturday afternoon putting the Sunday paper/ads together.

Second, newspapers are messy. The print gets all over everything, the Sunday paper inevitably wants to fall apart, and a mini-van full of papers and two unwashed guys smells. Bad. In fact, the smell was by far the worst part of the whole deal for me. It used to make me horribly sick to my stomach.

It didn't really help matters that delivering papers in a car involves a constant rocking motion of driving for a few feet, and then stopping at the next mailbox. And in between I had to turn around, grab the next paper and turn back in time to shove the paper into the paper holder. There were a number of times when I distinctly remember getting so sick to my stomach I would dry-heave/throw-up out the window.

All-in-all delivering newspapers was probably among one of the worst jobs I've ever had. To this day, I despise the smell of newspapers.

There were only two redeeming qualities to the whole experience. One was that it was time I got to spend with my Dad, who, despite the fact that he hated delivering papers as much as me, tried his best to make the time we spent out stuffing papers into too-small newspaper holders entertaining. The second was that I was earning money. Money that would soon buy me that all-important NES.

Except that when you split the money from a two-day-a-week paper route four ways (half for my dad, a fourth for the bank, a fourth for me), there wasn't really all that much rolling in. I needed additional supplemental income.

To Be Continued...

3 comments:

McBrideFarm said...

Oh, the nausea! I remember tagging along a few times with you guys (what could be cooler than doing everything your big brother does?) and getting so incredibly sick. I would go back to bed when we got home and wait for the bed to stop spinning. Blaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.

You sure were dedicated!

Dan Phillips said...

Isnt it amazing some of the sacrifices parents make for you when your younger. Ofcourse being a kid you never realize it.

Steve Eck said...

Sarah, I remember you going with and getting nauseated from riding in the back with all the papers.

Dan, It is pretty amazing. My Dad had no need for the small amount of money from the paper route. In fact, he was probably losing money on the deal since he had pay for any car repairs. Plus he gave up being able to sleep till a reasonable time on his only free days of the week. All because his son wanted a Nintendo. Pretty crazy.