Paperboy who used his head

This would be an unusual thing to see in America, but not in Africa. When I visited Malawi (quite a few years ago) I remember seeing numerous women walking around balancing all kinds of heavy objects (firewood, water containers, etc.) on their heads.

Charlotte Observer - Jan 31, 1978

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 10, 2022
     Category: Human Marvels | 1970s

This looks like a posed photo and I wonder what his upturned collar is hiding. If it's cold enough to turn up his collar, he'd also most likely be wearing gloves. Plus there's no way that pile would stay in place in typical Wisconsin weather. By the way, I had a Milwaukee Journal daily paper route years earlier (in 1961, at age 13), and even the smallest Journals then were a lot thicker than the ones he's shown balancing.
Posted by Fritz on 07/10/22 at 10:02 AM
Agreed. Why would he have folded ones on top of the stack? Looks like he doesn't have on a long-sleeve shirt, either.

Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 07/11/22 at 04:33 PM
But this one looks legit:

An woman from Ghana who delivers papers in the Netherlands, and she does carry them on her head.
Posted by René Bos on 07/12/22 at 02:13 PM
Rene -- that's a great find!
Posted by Alex on 07/12/22 at 04:37 PM
Based on studies of women of the Luo and Kikuyu tribes of East Africa, researchers have found that people can carry loads of up to 20 percent of their own body weight without expending any extra energy beyond what they’d use by walking around unencumbered. Above that figure, however, metabolic costs seem to increase proportionally with load weight. But don’t start stacking groceries on your head just yet. The subjects in these studies began head-loading as children and had developed a peculiar gait that’s one-third more efficient than the one we’re likely to use.
For untrained controls who have not had years to strengthen the right muscles and build up spinal bone density, carrying things on your head actually requires more energy than using a backpack.
Posted by Stan on 07/13/22 at 06:52 PM
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