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Thursday, December 1, 2022
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The Papa Files: Paper Wings

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Senor Cargador and I started throwing papers again. Our routine used to be that we’d fold and bag papers at my house while watching Cricket, and then throw the next day while listening to Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, the “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” album, and the “What Now My Love” collection. We prefer “Whipped Cream.” Then we’d have coffee at my house while we discussed the adventure of what we’d seen and who we’d encountered. There’s a real sense of sight-seeing while distributing samples. That was especially true during our drive into the wonderful cul-de-sacs of Hernando Beach.
But lately my old compadre from Exwork has started taking his half of the papers home to fold. I suspect he’s talked his wife into bagging the papers while he takes a nap. And we don’t listen to music anymore. We just drive and throw while occasionally commenting on nice houses, and frantically discuss how we got lost and where to go to get back on track. (Once while burning gas, we saw a sign that read “Welcome to Citrus County.”) And sometimes we’re surprised that what we thought was yard art was actually a family of live Egrets or Ibises or whatever they are, hunting across the yards for bugs and seeds. At my old house, I was always annoyed when a flock of Crane-like things passed through and pecked at their reflection in the door of my car.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had a hilarious time. Senor Cargador forgot his glasses, so everything was a blur to him. Fortunately I was driving. Then for half the time we were on the road, he had the hiccoughs. At least seventy-five percent of the time his diaphragmatic squeaking, which he pointed out happened every third paper he threw, is cured by eating something. I did stop at Dunkin’ Donuts that day and will do so again, because I bought a Springstead Eagles sheet of 48 coupons from 12 businesses. I might use some of five others, but I will for sure use all of the ones for donuts; Those are buy 6 and get 6 free! By the time we got to my house with the box of six Old Fashioned, six Boston Cream, and medium cups of coffee, his hiccoughs had ended. I think it was around paper number 530 when they stopped. But he ate a donut and sipped some very sweet caffeine, and I hoped that tied him over for the rest of the day.

One of the main things we talk about, which we have discussed many times before, is the difference between using plastic bags versus rubber bands when prepping papers. We’re often annoyed by the different widths of bags we’ve been supplied with; Six-inches looks good but is too narrow for readers to easily retrieve; Eight-inches and over is too floppy and the paper will sometimes escape the bag in mid-air; 6.5-inches would be best, but I don’t think they make bags that size. So seven-inches is what we prefer, but better than bags is rubber-bands. A triple-folded paper bound with rubber hoops throws more accurately to where we want it on the driveway, which is as close as possible to the mailbox. The paper’s surface is smaller, like a little stick of wood, and so it is less affected by natural breezes or the wind from driving. Examine the end of a bagged paper, it looks like a wing with the same curve as an airplane or bird. Trying to throw that is tricky even in no wind, it’s like a boomerang. It hasn’t happened yet, but I keep expecting a paper to catch the air out the passenger window and drop in my lap from the driver side.

I’ve sent an email about it to the editor, Julie, and it’s up to her. It costs $25 for a box of 1000 bags, but only $7.99 for a bag of 5,400 rubber bands. And besides, a rolled paper presents itself higher on the ground and is therefore more noticeable. (Hey, if we have to use bags, management should buy ones that are 3.5 inches wide, so the papers can maintain a rolled appearance. And make sure the bags are no longer than 15 inches.)
Well, I need to get on Google to map our next route. So far Senor Cargador and I have thrown 32,165 samples. Most of those are double, and some are triple throws, so it’s not really a lot, since there are about 150,000 houses in this county (my best guess) and the number grows.

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