My dear Uncle Werner used to go traipsing all over Europe to deliver his papers. That's one sorry excuse of a paper route, I thought.
It was only after I got a little older that I realized that's what academics do; travel the world to read their papers to learned fellow-travellers. It's not at all like me reading my Globe and Mail at Dockside Willies.
Werner had some good stories about his various paper delivery adventures. Aside from visiting places like Tubigen and Heidelberg, and any other place with a famous brewery, or so it seemed to me, he on occasion had to hop the Iron Curtain to attend conferences on that side of the fence. That's where his path would inevitably cross that of the Stasi, the state security outfit in East Germany.
He'd call up some esteemed Herr Doktor Professor, and someone would answer with the greeting "Staartssicherheit." This would be back in the ugly old Berlin Wall days.
Before the internet.
Before the digital revolution.
Before a small handful of private companies, all tied closely to American Empire, had a lock on global internet traffic.
I was impressed by what the Stasi could do in the '80's.
I can't even imagine what the NSA can do today.