My most embarrassing moment – the paper round

16 Jan

Paper boyThose who know me now may be surprised to learn that I wasn’t always the cool, collected person I am today *ahem*

In fact, my life pretty much used to consist of merely trying to get through the day without doing anything to completely humiliate myself or, at least, to try and stop anyone finding out about the stupid things I’d done.

I was reminded of the moment that is most brought up at family get-togethers, was shared with my entire football team thanks to my dad, who found it hilarious, and is possibly the most idiotic of the lot.

Before you read it, you need to realise that I didn’t have a lot of common sense back then (I still don’t) – it’s the only explanation for how it happened.

I was 14 years old, an intelligent young man, but fairly awkward and with a propensity for doing stupid things.

I wasn’t a geek or anything, but best fit into the category of inbetweener. I played football, but not particularly well, I was smart, but never found in the library and I liked getting drunk, but looked too young to ever be served.

My income came from a morning paper round. I would be up at 6am, out by quarter past and back by half seven to get ready for school.

I didn’t even get a respite on Saturdays and Sundays – if anything, it got worse because of the weekend papers so I had to do two or three trips.

These days, getting out of a bed is a massive struggle, so it amazes me that I managed to get out of bed every day. But I was used to it and could jump out of bed as soon as my alarm went off.

So when my alarm went off on that fateful day, I just jumped straight out of bed as usual and got dressed.

I headed downstairs, made myself some breakfast, wolfed it down and got on my bike with my bright orange paper bad and left.

I remember thinking that it seemed a bit darker than usual, but I attributed that to the winter months closing in. There were more people around than usual and they all seemed a bit drunk – maybe it had been a student night and people were on their way home.

When I got to the newsagent, it was closed. This confused me – my boss wasn’t the tardy type. If anything, he’d be the one going mad if you were late.

I didn’t have a watch with me and, although I had my first mobile phone, I hadn’t brought it with me. I only really used it try and flirt with girls and they didn’t really appreciate that at six in the morning.

Confused and still only half-awake, I cycled back to the nearest open place I could find to ask them the time. It turned out to be the kebab man. This didn’t seem strange to me.

Kebab manThe kebab man confirmed that it was half past midnight. As he said this, a drunk couple staggered up, took one look at me, burst into uncontrollable laughter and ordered a large doner.

I cycled home, planning to sneak back in quietly so that my family wouldn’t wake up and realise what an idiot I’d been.

Unfortunately, I quickly realised that I hadn’t brought my keys with me. They were always awake by the time I got back, so I’d never needed to.

Fortunately, our brand new extension extended beneath my own bedroom windows. Unfortunately, after climbing on top of it I realised that all of my windows were locked.

So I’d have to wake the house, which, for some reason, I chose to do by opening the letter box and wailing ‘mmmuuuuuummmm, can you open the doooooooor’ until she came down in her dressing gown and did just that.

I’d hoped that my mum, being the lightest sleeper, might sneak downstairs, let me in, laugh at me but agree not to tell anyone.

Unfortunately, she clearly didn’t recognise my voice and was flanked by my dad, who had come down just in case it was a burglar that he needed to knock out. Because burglars always enter houses by wailing through letterboxes.

As it happened, my dad told everyone he knew and probably more. It wouldn’t surprise me if he told everyone he saw that day – I’m sure there is a cashier at the supermarket who probably had a good laugh about it the next day.

He told all of my friends when they came over, all of my teammates on my football team and still laughs about the fact that I had my breakfast at midnight to this day.

I don’t know what it was that woke me up at midnight – it wasn’t my alarm as that went off at 6am as usual – but there must have been a noise that I’d just assumed was my alarm and hadn’t checked.

This was one of many such incidents that used to punctuate my life. These days, I’m better at stopping myself getting that far.

I remembered this story and decided to share it after getting a text from a friend at midnight, which woke me up.

Having got up and grabbed my towel to go in the shower, I did the thing that I’ve learnt from bitter experience to do and checked the time.

I got back into bed, remembered this story, laughed to myself and went back to sleep. At least I didn’t try to go to work with only the kebab man for company.


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