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Marcos Chin
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January 2011
Shoes
posted:

When I was 10 years old, I had my first job.
It was an ordinary job, a paper route that was passed onto me by my 16 year old brother. I was in fifth grade, having received a $2 per week allowance from my father over the past several years, but now I no longer had the patience to save up for those things in my life that I wanted, like the $42 pair of Nike sneakers with rubber baseball cleats.
Fashion forges ahead.
Yes, it gives a nod to the past, but moves forward nonetheless.
At the rate that I was going, it would have taken about 6 months to finally purchase those sneakers!
Each afternoon, I would get home from school to see the pile of The Toronto Star newspapers resting outside the entrance of my parents home; I'd bring them inside, stuff the newspapers into a bag and then walk, or sometimes ride my bike around the block placing them into each of the customers' mailboxes. But on the weekends because so many more people subscribed to the The Toronto Star, my father offered to help me deliver them. The number of homes we went to remains fuzzy in my head, but I do recall that the newspapers were incredibly thick. My father and I woke up very early on the weekends to receive the newspapers and then placed the inserts inside each one of them. We lined the foyer floor with clean sheets of blank paper, or sometimes plastic to prevent it from getting dirty, and then hauled in the stacks of newspapers and inserts into the house. I remember part of my soul wretched a little because I knew that this paper route caused me to miss a handful of those Saturday morning cartoons that I loved so much; back in 1985 it was the jingles that I liked the most about them, the songs and music at the beginning of these cartoons that I sang along to:
Band of brothers marching together
Heads held high in all types of weather
With fiery blast, our roaring rockets rise
Beyond the earth, beyond the sky
At the sight of Robin take your stand
With the gallant leader of our band.
Send a joyous shout throughout the land
For Rocket Robin Hood

One by one, my father and I placed each of the inserts into the middle sections of the newspaper. We didn't speak much while we did this, but only ploughed through the work in front of us, like factory workers do. After the piles were completed we carried the stacks into the back seat of the car (that my father again had lined with some fabric to prevent it from getting dirty) and then he drove me from house to house around the block. We did this every weekend for 3 years, and although I despised it, I appreciated the lessons that I was taught about work ethic, organization, the value of money, and not to wait for somebody else to give me $2 a week for 6 months to buy a pair of $42 sneakers, but to go out and get it myself.

*The image at the top of the page entitled "Find the Best Provider" was done for Soojin Buzelli (woot! woot!) at Plansponsor Magazine.
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Chin is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!