This is the text of the speech Alisdair plans to give at the Battlefords Kiwanis Music Festival tomorrow afternoon.
"LIFE AS A PAPERBOY"
I had just read the advertisement on the lamp post it was for the Star Phoenix paper route.
“Mum, can I please have the paper route?” I begged. So she called the number that was on the poster for more information.
Then after pestering Mum a lot, she called the number once again to make arrangements for me to go around with the old paper boy.
I helped him for several days until he thought I would be okay on my own. My first official day as a paper boy was October 19th, 2010. I signed a 3-month contract and gave my bank account information to the lady in charge of the carriers.
My favourite day (other than my birthday or Christmas) is now the 10th of every month because it is PAY DAY! I run outside to go see my statement that tells me how much I earned. I only earn 17 cents per paper/per day – so it adds up slowly.
At first I was excited to do my deliveries each day. But then the weather got nasty – it was snowy and cold.
“Why did I ever want this job?” I asked my Mum, as we drove around doing deliveries. “I want to quit.”
She told me I had to keep delivering as my three months weren’t up yet.
I had some encouragement at Christmas time when many of my subscribers gave me cards, gifts and tips. I especially liked the Quality Street chocolates (they are my favourite!) One lady even gave me a bowl full of homemade baking. Yum!
My strangest experience was when we went to deliver papers on a cul-de-sac where I have three subscribers. My Mum had trouble driving because a big green house was in the middle of the street. Workmen were putting it on a foundation. It was blocking my way to one of the houses. I had to walk around the green house and in behind it to get to the shiny gold mailbox where I put the local school Principal’s paper!
Another odd experience was when a lady asked us to hold her paper for several weeks, as she was going to British Columbia. We left all the papers in the Rubbermaid tub that the delivery man uses each day when he drops the papers off on my doorstep. Somehow, the lid didn’t get properly shut one day and some snow got inside. Some of the papers we were holding got wet. The only solution we could think of was to use a hairdryer to heat the papers up and dry them out. Thankfully she didn’t seem to mind as she didn’t complain to us about the incident.
Two of my subscribers have mischievous dogs. One lady often chains the dog outside, near the steps where I have to walk. Sometimes the dog starts barking very loudly at me. Once the dog stood on the step barking and barking and I was scared if I went any farther, he would bite me. After quite a few minutes, and a lot of barking, the owner finally came outside and sent the dog inside and apologized to me for the trouble he had caused. I’ve also ripped my coat on some nails sticking out of the trim on the door frame of this same house!
Another problem is when people do not empty their mailboxes. Sometimes they get so full of papers, which I have to put the new issue underneath the box or in-between the doors. One lady’s screen door broke and I now have to open her door and throw the paper inside on the floor of her porch.
I also am concerned about ice as some people have very slippery walks and driveways.
My list of subscribers changes sometimes. I have had two people die and two more went to the United States of America for the winter. I hope they renew their subscriptions when they come back home. I have also had some new people subscribe because the Star Phoenix does telemarketing to try to get more people to buy the paper by offering a big discount for a four months.
I also have a delivery deadline that I should meet. The papers have to be delivered by 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday and by noon on Saturdays. Sometimes we have to rush because we want to go somewhere or are doing something else. I am lucky because, if I lived in Saskatoon, they would want me to get my work done by 7:30 a.m.
Even though it isn’t always pleasant to deliver the paper to my subscribers, I realize I am providing a valuable service to my customers. When I deliver a paper with headlines about things like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, or the pending Canadian election and the unstable political situation at the moment, I know these are important for people to know about.
I’m glad I am a paper boy!