For several weeks Senor Cargador and I have thrown free copies of The Hernando Sun onto driveways around the county. While we might be in one of three cars, I am usually nondescript, while he looks like something God made after watching a Jeff Dunham special. We throw because it gets us out of our grandpa caves and gives our bones something to do for at least one day a week. We’ve discovered that bones, especially the ones in our heads, need something more interesting to do than drinking coffee and mowing the lawn.
We were awkward at first, not sure where to go and often getting lost, but then I started using a Bing map of Hernando to research routes and writing directions down in a little spiral notebook. A quick example looks like this:
R road A, dab 57 (309)
L road B, acr road C to…
L road D, dab 32 (341)
R road C, dab 15 (356)
R means turn right on, L means turn left on, dab means down and back, acr means go across, the first number is how many houses on the road, and the second number is the total papers thrown so far. (Dear Bing guys, please update your maps. There are huge areas that show roads but no houses where there are plenty of houses now.) I also establish an escape route for when we’re in a big housing development far from home. Before, we occasionally experienced something similar to the scene in European Vacation, going around and around, especially on roads that loop back to themselves. I don’t like coming to a dead-end intersection and finding that the road I have to turn left or right on has the same name as the one I’ve been throwing! Who designed that nonsense?
With my written directions we are able to appreciate the variety of houses and yards we see along the way instead of concentrating on shadows and our feeble memories to keep tack of our location. We are mainly jealous of the driveways. Backing out onto any road is always dangerous, so if ever I can change New House, that’s the first thing I’d do, install perpendicular parking spaces or a round-about like I’ve seen on many corners and even mid-street.
Mostly our throwing has been peaceful, even handing samples to folks young and old who happened to be outside and who thanked us. But there were the odd responses. A Middle Schooligan accused us of littering. An angry guy yelled at us to “Come back and pick that crap up!” (we didn’t). And a woman in a bathrobe called to complain when we left a small stack on the concrete below the cluster of mailboxes at an apartment complex, so we never did that again.
Our biggest enemy is wind. The ideal throw is to get the paper on the mailbox-side of the driveway. (The only sound I like better than the slap-and-scoot of a good throw on concrete is the ding of the microwave when it’s done cooking my Marie Calendar’s pot pie.) But sometimes a gust will carry the paper out into the yard or up over the car to middle of the road. One time the wind shot it straight into a recycle tub. Another time it landed in the back of a pickup. Once it almost went into an open mailbox. Occasionally it’s my fault from driving too fast.
The largest amount we’ve thrown is 1,230, and that was a long weekend, boy, including bagging each paper! The fewest is 162. All together the average is 640 per week for 29 weeks so far. Recently I’ve been getting them prebagged. You can tell the difference between when we stuff the papers into the plastic sleeves and when someone else does it, I won’t say who. We fold them horizontally so the name of the paper is clearly visible; they fold them vertically so the name is cut in half.
It was back in December when we had those 1,230 samples to throw that we started singing Hallelujah. When I lifted the last bag (the handled shopping bags my wife bought and never used) from behind the passenger seat and dropped it on Senor Cargador’s lap, he hollered “Hallelujah!” When he threw the last paper he started singing, and I sang along. And now we do that every time no matter how few we threw. It’s the Hallelujah song, but our last line is, “The last one has been thrown.” And we sing it with a head-and-shoulder’s dance. I’m sure it’s a disturbing sight, two old guys banging their heads up and down in the car like Meyers and Carvey in the movie Wayne’s World. But it’s what we do.
P.S. Anyone who has the passcode to a gated community, please send it to [email protected] I would love to throw in all those fancy places.
P.S.S. Take the newspaper folding poll to help us settle the dispute: