Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What August 31st Means To Me -- Apparently...PAPERBOY!

Simply, it's the end of summer. 

One Brave Paperboy

Yesterday, I mentioned that my childhood often featured a buffer week between the end of summer camp and the beginning of school.  Generally, my family would take a short vacation during this period of nothingness, but there was also much time spent at home, doing not much, simply because I was way too young to drive and perhaps too lazy to go out and do something productive, like play in the dirt or walk around in circles.  Though there were plenty of summers where this week existed, for some reason my main memory of the entire collective time period is one where I’m sitting in my brother’s room alone playing Nintendo.  And though I’m sure I played many games, the only one I remember was “Paperboy.”
Do you remember this game?  It was a popular arcade game in the mid-80s, and they made a home version for Nintendo, which was actually a decent enough replica (something Nintendo usually failed at due to its limited capability).  For those who don’t know, or need a refresher, Paperboy featured a simple task: ride through a neighborhood and effectively deliver papers to all your subscribers.  Simple enough, right?  Well, I don’t know how much the paperboy actually made, but I can assure you it wasn’t enough.  Because, despite its serene “Anytown, USA” appearance, this neighborhood was easily the most fucked up place imaginable.
First off, it was an entire town whose sole purpose was to make the paperboy’s job as difficult as possible, which is a weird collective goal.  You would think that the town might pool its efforts into something constructive, like building new schools or parks.  So, the question begs, what the hell was written in that paper?  Perhaps the town was seconds from revolution and the local government created obstacles so that its citizens could not see the news in the paper? Because, sure, there were a number of normal obstacles: potholes, skateboarding kids, fire hydrants, breakdancers (of course!) storm drains…but then some very unlikely ones:  Mini tornados?  House cats the size of pitbulls?  Women in nightgowns chasing you with knives?! And my personal favorite….the Grim Reaper!  Yes, whatever information those papers held was some serious shit if Death itself was attempting to prevent it from being disseminated.  So…maybe the paperboy was Jesus Christ braving the elements to provide the believers with the secret to morality and certain path to heaven through the local paper?  Hmm, maybe, but the paperboy didn’t have a beard.  Though PaperJesus may have made for an interesting sequel. 
But it wasn’t just pure evil that reigned over the town because there was some serious communal factionalism that existed within the community, to the point where its inhabitants would actually paint their houses to signify their belief system.  For those who wanted the paper, their houses were brightly colored, while the non-subscribers were in dark REDS and blacks.  Perhaps this “Anytown, USA” was being overrun by communist and the paperboy was a GI JOE that spread the word of democracy through his daily run.   I’m just saying it’s possible.
Regardless, the “bonus” obstacle course at the end of the street seemed like an odd design choice by the city planners.  Perhaps they were building infrastructure for future X-games, though I doubt the powers that be would hold an event in such a volatile community. 
Anyway, despite the fact that the town is some kind of battleground, I think we should all aspire to live in places where we can breakdance freely in the streets.    Even if the sole purpose for expressing this art is to distract the paperboy. 
I think there’s a movie somewhere in here. 


  1. they make paperboy for the iphone and i recently spent a flight playing it and getting way too into it to play in public. I like to think of the course at the end as the town's archery course/skatepark.

    i find it harder to play on an iphone because things are smaller. The thing I find most frustrating is that i like to ride the curb, but for some reason in the iphone version cars can still hit you there. why are cars riding the curb in this town!?

    I played it on an arcade version with a joystick earlier this year for the first time at the Vegas Pinball Museum and it was wayyyyy hard with the joystick. I found the same thing with Super Mario Bros.

  2. Im totally on the paperboy app! didnt know that existed. And good point on the curb riding cars. Anytown, USA..this is not!