What was your very first job?
Submitted by Laurel.
From age 13 to 17, I delivered a tiny, uninfluential paper no one's ever heard of to between sixty and sixty-five doorsteps along a few streets south and west of the Forest Glen Metro station in Silver Spring, Md.
My brother Erin helped me unbundle the stacks that a big gunmetal-gray cargo van would drop off at the end of our house's driveway. Then we'd put them into a cart and wheel them around through silent stretches of suburban street, lit by waning pools of lamplight. If it rained or snowed, we'd bag them in small plastic sleeves. My aim and control were ferocious. Most days, I could put a rolled-up, rubber-band-bound newspaper atop a penny on your welcome mat from your lawn's streetside curb.
Oh dude, but that one time I didn't? I was 14 or 15. It was winter. I was three doors away from the warmth of home and the satisfaction of another day done, and I'd heaved a color-slick ad-filled Sunday paper, safe in its sleeve, onto the left front edge of Mr. C——-'s porch. It landed like a dream. But then it kept going on sheer momentum and a sheet of half-melted ice. Then it tapped the thick sheet of fancy ribbed glass window beside the front door and the whole thing blew like a safecracker's wet dream.
I paid to replace the glass. And there must not've been too many hard feelings, because Mr. C——- hired me for a couple of summers afterward to tag along in his van on contracting jobs, lifting sheetrock and pounding nails and bracing ladders. I put on solid muscle, got a lot of paint on my overalls and listened to more than a little Shirley Caesar on a crackling radio.