Guest Post by the Author John R. Cameron
WHEN WE KNOCKED ON DOORS
I remember my first job, delivering newspapers door to door. I made good money - for a kid, anyway. On my first pay day, I held my money in my hands in awe. I thought back to all the hard work I'd done around the house for spending money, wrestled away from my parents five dollars at a time. It was a dream job. Back in the early nineties, I was making $300 bi-weekly. I socked some away for my education. (I was forced.) I spent the rest. The paper route was on my own street, in a decent neighborhood. Half my earnings were in tip money, back before everyone started paying online - those few who still get the paper delivered, that is. You learn a great deal about other people in that line of work. The memories of the good folks who left me a couple dollars tip every other week have faded, but I'll never forget the best (and worst) customers.
One of the women was a stout, kindly old dear with short, curly silver hair. She'd give me boxes of a specific brand of chocolate that I won't endorse, lest I incur the wrath on you it left on me: a lifelong addiction to the fine delicacy. Anyhow, sometimes she'd invite me in, and we'd talk while she stuffed me full of home-made cookies. (She also tipped really well.) She'd ask me
My papers were to be delivered immediately after school on weekdays, and by ten in the morning on weekends. I was late once in the two years I had the route. A brutal snowstorm hit overnight, leaving two feet of snow everywhere, with six foot drifts in some places. One customer on my route called the company and complained because his paper was late. Not undelivered. Just late. The same man who'd never tipped me. He'd leave an envelope taped to his door with exact change in it on collections day. I never even saw the man. In my mind, he was a villain; the Scrooge of my route, but without the happy ending. I'm not sure if we're supposed to feel sorry for miserable old curmudgeons or not. I guess it depends on how they came to be miserable and curmudgeonly.
I had a great route: a circuit, with my house smack dab in the middle. It included the tallest apartment building in town, holding over half my customers. The tower was a perfect square, and when I first started the route, I'd use the elevator for all my drops. It'd normally take me ten or so minutes. The superintendent gave me shit one day and told me to use the stairs. (The super was a dick, but that's another story.) I compromised by taking the elevator up to the penthouse level, then I'd storm down the stairwell, opening the door to each of the thirteen stories, peeking out into the halls just long enough to toss the papers at the apartment doors. The best part? It took me half the time that way.
One customer in the building constantly stiffed me. I'd show up to collect, and he'd never have the money. "Come back tomorrow," was his mantra. I'd call my company to complain, they'd tell me to keep trying to collect. They kept sending a paper for him - papers which I paid for out of my collections. This went on for weeks. Finally, I stopped delivering his paper. He called and complained.
I think the only sour memory I have of the entire experience is that in both of the above cases, my supervisor (another faceless entity), called to chastise me.
In my travels, I've been a paperboy, a convenience store clerk, a baker in a factory, a baker in a supermarket, a gas station attendant, a telemarketer, a teacher, a husband, and a father. I hope that the day comes when I feel worthy enough to call myself an accomplished author, too.
A “Philosophical Odyssey touching on Faith, Hope, Love, Morality and Redemption.”
On the evening of April 14th, 1865, a flawless duplicate replaced the 16th President an instant prior to his assassination. Two centuries later, Honest Abe opened his eyes to a world in desperate need of guidance.
THE SECOND LIVES OF HONEST MEN is a prescient vision of where society’s dependence on technology could be taking us. It’s a character driven story about love, redemption, and hope, with deep philosophical underpinnings related to how we think, feel, and reason in a world where it’s ironically easy to feel disconnected.
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About The Author
My family often drives me to the brink of madness; not a difficult thing to do, considering how close to the edge I already am. My daughter is a hellion. At the age of six, she’s both bright and bold, obstinate, and pushes every button I have. My wife blames my genetics: “I was never like that,” she claims. I deny it, despite knowing that I was also an uncontrollable child.
I’m a teacher, but I consider myself a modern philosopher. I’m very worried about the current state of education. I’m concerned about the future, in general. I don’t think we all necessarily need to be alarmists, though I do believe that if you look at the world around you and aren’t a little worried, you and I probably aren’t going to agree on much. (I’ll pretend not to look while you navigate elsewhere. There’s plenty of other entertainment on-line. Crushing Candy, and so forth…)
I’m currently working on a couple of new short stories, and on the sequel to The Second Lives of Honest Men, which I’m writing under the working title of The Old Crow.
Visit his site at http://www.embracetheirony.com/
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