Paper route taught me valuable lessons

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 07:50 PM.

But I suppose first and foremost, I learned the practical meaning of responsibility. I learned that my obligations to my customers and to my publisher weren’t trumped or negated by bad weather or a runny nose.

I learned marketing, expanding my route by giving good service to "clients" and signing up the neighbors. I believe I learned more useful and practical hands-on lessons about business by delivering papers than comes out of colleges.

"Experience is the best teacher" is more than hollow homily. I and my fellow paperboys grew into responsible and productive "businessmen" before we could even spell it.

I ran routes in California at El Toro and North Carolina when Dad transferred to Cherry Point. I recall how black my hands would get from printer’s ink after folding my route’s bundle.

I can still fold and tuck with some speed, although my throw has suffered. I used to hit the porch, today I’d probably miss the whole yard and wreck my bike.

I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities newspapers gave me that have translated so well over the decades. It’s sad that young folks today have been denied those same opportunities. It’s our loss.

I don’t blame anybody in particular for the death of paperboys. It’s just one of many sad sacrifices we’ve made upon the altar of "progress."

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