The Last Paperboy in America

The Last Paperboy in America

Maybe it was yesterday, or perhaps today, but the last paperboy (or papergirl) in America was born.

Every morning, I hear the familiar “phlip” of one of the Chicago dailies being tossed onto my neighbors porches.  This is a three “phlip” block, and the paperboy does not have a bag on a bicycle, but tosses the news out the window of the 1990’s  station wagon.

It used to be that every porch had a paper on it, or nearly so.

The news was served up right in time for breakfast, and, in years gone by, for afternoon and evening consumption.   You woke up and wondered if the world was still there.  This was especially true a generation or so ago, before the inane morning shows–hosted by living smily faces– told you what food was more likely to kill you or not this month, before Bradgelina, even.

The daily papers are getting thinner and thinner. Everything has moved online, and if you want to know if the world is still around, you power up.  Fewer and fewer people subscribe or buy the dead tree newspapers.

I grew up reading the newspapers.  At one time Chicago had, I believe, seven strong daily newspapers.  Now we have two struggling dailies.  I poured over the paper while eating Lucky Charms as a kid.   Now, I never buy or read a dead tree paper.

There is hope, however.  As more online news sources try to get people to subscribe and pay actual cash for the information, the actual dead tree newspaper could be reborn, just as milk delivery has seen a minor resurgence.   The “phlip” of the paper could be heard right after the “clang” of the milk bottles being set on the back step.  Some people, a few, will still want to “feel” their news.


Ain’t going to happen.

Today is born the last paperboy.  In the next twelve years or so, the paper versions of all newspapers will be joining the buggy whip in the museum of formerly necessary things.

A child will ask a grandparent what their first job was, and they will say “paperboy”, to be responded to with “what is a ‘paperboy'”.




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