Kramer Law Group - July 2019



W ith school officially out, older students are preparing for one of life’s most instructive events: punching the time clock for the first time ever. While I spent some of my earlier years babysitting, the first official job I ever had was a paper route, and it may well have been one of the most physically demanding jobs I’ve ever had. My parents had their own routes they delivered, so once I hit the age of 12, they brought me up to speed, and I got a route of my own. Delivering newspapers taught me more about independence than anything else up to that point. For starters, I had to wake up before the trucks dropped off the papers in my driveway at 6 a.m. As an adult, I still can’t call myself a morning person, but as a preteen, I was even less so. I’d drag myself out of bed and try to rub the sleep from my eyes as I put rubber bands around each set of papers. I’d then load them up on the bike and start my routes. Some customers were particular about where they wanted their paper. Some asked that I toss it on their porch or front stoop, while others were fine with retrieving it from the sidewalk. Either way, I was always careful to watch for sprinkler schedules. A lot of people had them set to water in the morning, which meant I needed to be careful where I threw their paper. A soggy paper isn’t the way anyone wants to start their day.

I remember a particularly hilly neighborhood that was always a struggle on Sunday mornings. Here I was, this slender 12-year-old boy on a single speed bike, weighed down by pounds upon pounds of exciting news just waiting to be consumed by the public, using all the strength I could muster to propel myself up these massive hills to get the papers delivered on time. While I was often drenched in sweat by the time the sun came up, my Sunday routes taught me so much about responsibility and perseverance — and the joys of a geared bike! “HERE I WAS, THIS SLENDER 12-YEAR-OLD BOY AND SINGLE SPEED BIKE, WEIGHED DOWN BY POUNDS UPON POUNDS OF EXCITING NEWS JUST WAITING TO BE CONSUMED BY THE PUBLIC, USING ALL THE STRENGTH I COULD MUSTER TO PROPEL MYSELF UP THESE MASSIVE HILLS TO GET THE PAPERS DELIVERED ON TIME.” My favorite part of having my own route was going from door to door to collect payments. Nowadays, people pay for their papers online, but back in the days that I was delivering, I had to knock on each person’s door with my own little envelope to collect the money. Sometimes

my customers would add in a little something extra for me, which made it more exciting. While I’ve held a number of jobs since then, none stands out quite like those routes. As the only person responsible, I had to wake up early seven days a week, and I couldn’t call in sick unless I physically couldn’t ride my bike. It was a great way to learn about the value of hard work and personal integrity, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

During the week, I could typically fit all the papers onto my bike at once and deliver them in time to get to school, but the Sunday paper was a different story. Since it contained more articles and was so much thicker, the paper took longer to fold and rubber band, so I’d wake up earlier in the morning. I also typically made two or three trips back to the house to restock, so I was delivering for at least twice as long.

–Ron Kramer

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