I Was a Daredevil Paperboy!


My Real Memoir

As a result of my regular self-disfigurements, Mom and Dad began keeping a closer watch on me. But then I was set free by the most reckless device known to boy: A Bike!

Our hilly little suburb facilitated lots of daredevil bikery. First it was No Hands, then Steering with the Feet, and finally Standing on the Seat! And yet, despite my reckless two-wheeled exploits, I got nothing worse than bruised limbs and stubbed toes (my toes had so many mouth-like little splits I could have staged a muppet show). Yet, ironically, my biggest injury came when I wasn’t taking any risks. Or so I thought.

Dad was a newspaper dealer. And as a result, I’d acquired a new bike and a paper route for my ninth birthday. The bike was a black Schwinn Wasp with heavy duty shock absorbers. I rubber-banded my transistor radio to the butterfly handlebars, and away I flew! Sort of. Actually, Mom had to drive me on my first day, after I came home drenched, crying and ashamed, with all the addresses on my route list wiped clean by the rain.

But soon I knew the route by heart, and was gliding daredevilishly down those suburban slopes! One particular corner was my refreshment break. It was a hot summer, so I’d hug the curb and raft my bare foot through the lush, damp ivy.

Unbeknownst to me, however, the gardener who resided there had upgraded from old-fashioned hose watering to that marvel of ’60s lawn care, the automated RainBird system. How it works: heavy duty steel sprinkler heads pop up out of nowhere, saying, “Chicka-chicka-chicka-chicka–pppptttttthhhhhtttttt!” as they spray arcs of aqua-pura across the yard. Marvelous!

And lethal.Rainbird

As I rounded the corner, I slid my foot into the cool undergrowth, when an alien object suddenly popped up like a u-boat conning tower! “Chicka-chicka-chicka-chicka—CRACK!” My blue-jeaned shin struck the evil vessel with full torpedo force!

“Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!” I shouted as I pulled away from the corner. The devious device had ripped open the bottom ten inches of my new jeans!

I figured I’d have a black-and-blue shin for a week. But the news waits for no boy, so I pushed up the volume on my radio to drown out the pain and pedaled on.

A moment later, a man at another corner yelled, “Stop, kid!” As I braked, he ran up and pulled back my torn pantleg. My shin was a miniature Rio Grande, gouged open all the way to the bone, and flowing red from the Colorado of my knee to the Mexico of my foot. “What’s your phone number?” the man demanded.

Mom to the rescue again. She picked me up fifteen minutes later, and took me straight to the E.R. Only this time I didn’t cry…


My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to I Was a Daredevil Paperboy!

  1. murisopsis says:

    Ouch. This made my hands weak!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. You biked barefoot???

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Dora says:

    You need to put a warning label on your storytelling: I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until I let it out to grab my oxygen tank. I don’t know who I felt sorrier for: you or your long-suffering mother! She had to have had nerves of steel along with that big heart :>)

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Although scary many memories will return. Oh, how I remember them.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. rwfrohlich says:

    No hands; did that. Steer with body on the streets of Queens; of course. Stand on the seat? What were you, crazy? My shin hurts just from reading your story.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wonderful story–well told!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. wynneleon says:

    Oh, this scares the mom in me. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers!! So glad you survived that childhood of yours Mitch because now these are awfully good stories! 🙂 ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My paper route was much calmer. But, I raced a boat to risk life and limb.

    Who was that guy? I wouldn’t recognize my 14 year old version if he came by today. Would you still recognize that paperboy, Mitch?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. maggiesmith205 says:

    Hi Mitch I have a friend who enjoys writing short stories. Do you still have your writers’ group? If so, are you accepting visitors? I have cc’d him on this email so he can get your reply. Thanks for your help!

    Blessings, Maggie Smith


    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lisa Beth says:

    Great story! I will now have more understanding for my parents’ paperboy, even as the WSJ lands under the car, stuck in big bushes and even on top the roof!!
    Thanks Mitch!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Michele Lee says:

    Goodness! Your story brought back many memories… my older brother was a frequent visitor of the ER (poor mom) and I remember delivering his papers for him on several occasions. 😆

    Liked by 2 people

  12. That is quite a paperboy story. It reminded me of a few of my own, stitches and all!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. LifeooNaut says:

    Loved it! Literally, the life of every small boy I guess. Only the fun counts, not the injury!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. stolzyblog says:

    me too, newspaper route and a Schwinn… come to think of it maybe all bikes were Schwinns back then, Christmas week was great — the tips on collection day were crazy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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