Thursday, September 03, 2009

Mark Twain, sellin' newspapers in the STL and citrus

"A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain." - Mark Twain.

As a kid on the corner I would sell the Post year round even in the rain and snow. Usually I just got wet but if it was pouring I'd sometimes wear a raincoat. I would just light a barrel fire. Even in bad weather sales were still pretty good and I'd sell out.

Over the years I sold the paper I never did go home early. One night it was raining with temps in the 30s and I was still out selling the paper. Usually the tips were pretty good if the weather was crap, but on one sale of a three star edition to an old geezer gave me an orange as a tip. While I do love citrus, at that age I could have cared less. I wanted money. I wasn't standing out there for oranges. I chucked that orange back at the old man who bought that three star edition. It was sleeting rain out and I don't think he even noticed I chucked it at his Ford station wagon. While it was pointless to throw that orange, I still don't really regret it.

It is true that I place a high value on my produce today, but I still know to this day that cash is king. So on that cold rainy night when I was soaked and freezing I stayed out on that street corner, throwing oranges in anger and selling papers until I sold them all out. And at the end of that shift I walked home with a pocket full of cash.


Blogger Leah Jewel said...

Wow, the photograph of Mark Twain is a wonderful and rare find. Thanks for sharing. I truly enjoy your blog.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

that ain't a pic of Mark Twain. It is from about 1911 or so here in the STL of urchins that were selling papers hanging out at a poll hall somewhere off of Chouteau.

8:44 AM  

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