sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Monday, October 11, 2004

Instead of making a sarcastic comment about Lorraine Ahearn's Sunday column, I'll write my own real-world column:

As the rain pours, the 1993 Mitsubishi station wagon rolls slowly down Elm Street. It pulls over to the curb, and a solitary figure, wearing a green rain jacket, gets out. After 10 years, the jacket isn't as water-resistant any more, and his faded Pep Boys T-shirt is wet after only an hour. His newsprint-stained fingers grab a bundle from the back of the station wagon, and he walks down the sidewalk and makes a "drop." Then he gets back in the car, drives a few hundred feet, and repeats the process.

He not only delivers the newspaper, he helps write it, too. Due to competition from the Internet, especially Web logs, or "blogs," the print media is seeing a decline in ad revenues. As a result, writers don't get paid much these days. When the publisher offered up a route to help supplement the income, he jumped at the chance.

"If I can get get it done in six hours, then that's $20 an hour," he said with a shrug.

Just a few blocks down Washington Street, a rich white guy, stripped down to his shirt sleeves, is telling a few hundred of the delivery man's fellow citizens what he's going to do for them. A couple of hours later, he hopped into a fancy car and headed toward the airport, where he hopped onto a fancy plane and flew off to another town, where he'll probably tell those citizens bascially the same thing.

As the caravan drove by, our man was still making his drops on Elm Street, this time covering the other side of the street. He wasn't impressed.

"That much, huh?" he asked when told that the rich white guy was worth $550 million. "Damn, best way that dude can help me is with a loan. Not much, just a couple hundred thousand so I can work on my novel full-time. It's a winner, too. A fictionalized account of when I hitchhiked home from Fort Lauderdale after falling down drunk and breaking my collarbone."

The rain was now coming down like a sheet. He shrugged his shoulders, pulled the hood over his head, and got out to make another drop.


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