The Paperman

I was nearly run off the road by a paperman today. He drives round in a beaten up Ford throwing newspapers out the window.

Back in the day there was no such thing as a paperman. We had paperboys instead. Your paperboy rode a bicycle. He delivered newspapers by pushing them into the newspaper slot of your letterbox. If your paperboy didn’t deliver your paper (say you lived on the corner of Cherwell Court and Augustine Terrace and your paperboy developed a blind spot on your house for some reason) you walked out in your nighty at 5am and accosted him.

Try accosting some fat curb-crawling under-employed dude as he flings papers out his passenger side window. He might just run you over. It’s not like he’s watching the road you know.

(If you can’t find a suitable photo for an article, get a really silly one.)

If your paperman is especially fat he might even have a paperwoman accomplice. In this instance his wife drives the papermobile while he flings papers out from the rear seat. This set-up is at least plausibly legal. The person driving the car isn’t also chucking stuff out the passenger side window. Or at least would be if the paperman in back wore a seat belt. It’s also much less likely that a paperman/woman combo will accidentally run cyclist off the road. At least with this combo there’s one paperperson to concentrate on the driving while the other ejects the newspapers out the window.

The paperman/woman combo is my preferred paper delivery option of the two available. If those are my only choices. If you pretend that watching someone troll around in an ancient straight-6 isn’t charting the end of civilization as we know it. As though we’re not all getting too fat and lazy for this planet.

All these newspapers are wrapped in plastic these days. What could be wrong with that? Plastic’s natural or something isn’t it? And biodegrades? Or does it end up in a giant whirlpool in the Pacific Ocean?

There are some people still arguing over whether climate change exists. As though 99% of all scientists agreeing on something isn’t enough. They read about this guy with no qualifications who is happy to misinterpret the climate data for them and he says climate change is bunkum. Yeah, that’s pretty silly. But not half as silly as thinking we can do anything about it. When you’ve got papermen driving round in 20 year old Fords you’ve pretty much given up. It’s like watching a fat lady eating a cream bun.

What about childhood obesity? Bring back the paperboy I say. It was a shit of a job I know. But at least there weren’t many fat paperboys. Bit hard to ride around with a milk crate full of Saturday papers balanced on your ape hangers if you were carrying too much condition.

Of course, newspapers are being replaced by incisive and carefully crafted online commentary like mine. Which is where you can really chart the decline of our civilization.

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