By Norris Chambers

            You have heard it said, “Every dog has its day.”  This statement is probably true, but this tale is not about dogs. The old statement just means that sooner or later just about every dog or every human has a rewarding experience. It could also refer to changes in vocations that are available for exploitation.

            When I was growing up an ambitious couple could open a mom and pop store in any little thriving village if they could rent or build a suitable structure and manage to find something to sell. There were no building inspections, certificates of occupancy, sign ordinances, zoning requirements, state permits and in most cases no income tax worries. I opened several radio and TV repair shops in cities like San Antonio, Dallas, Grand Prairie and even White Settlement without any occupancy problem. But those days are gone. Opening just about any kind of public sales or service business is now a nightmare.

            There was a time when professionals like doctors and lawyers could begin a career with a minimum of schooling and expense. My father was a successful country doctor for many years in the late eighteen and early nineteen hundreds. When his family moved to Texas he decided to enter medical school in Chattanooga. When asked what grade he finished in school he told them that the school he attended didn’t have grades. A student just attended until he felt like he knew enough. He had acquired enough learning to be admitted to the college and completed the two year course. He came to Texas and worked a year with another doctor and was qualified to take a test and become a certified physician. He had a very good reputation as a doctor. He retired from doctoring and became a farmer about the time I was born. So for several years I was a farmer and a ‘possum hunter!  You can still become a doctor if you have determination and access to enough money. You will also need considerably more time.

            The poor old blacksmith lost his profession because the horse and plow disappeared – but he became a mechanic and the new machines keep operating!

            My radio and TV shops are no longer practical because the newer versions of these remarkable units just don’t have problems like the old ones did. No more condensers, resistors, transformers and coils to replace. No antennas to install.

            The printing shop that I operated for years would not work now. I specialized in printing cards, flyers, invoices, letterheads, envelopes, etc. for individuals and small businesses. Now all of these can be produced as needed on a computer or copying machine. Of course the large commercial printers still operate and are needed for work that is too elaborate for the copying machine and computer printer, at least in larger quantities.

            Typewriter repairmen can’t find any typewriters to fix anymore. The computers and printers do what the typewriters once did. The train and bus travelers now either fly or go by automobile.

            All of this change is to remind me that I spent a year learning shorthand and related business duties. Almost before I passed the Civil Service exam for writing and transcribing dictation the Dictaphone appeared and before it could get rid of the stenographers the tape recorder made its appearance. Learning to write shorthand is quite an accomplishment but it is practically useless in the business world of today. I did have two old uncles who knew shorthand but made farming their life’s work. They lived in different parts of the state and used penny postcards and shorthand to correspond. This was very frustrating to the prying eyes of the postmasters in the small towns and the rural mail route carriers.

            “Every dog has his day” would seem to indicate that only one good day is allowed per dog. If people are included in the dog philosophy I have had more than my share or good days. Perhaps one of the most appreciated days was the time I was invited to the city council meeting and presented an appreciation plaque for writing the OLD TIMER’S TALES!

            This was a lot of fun – perhaps you ought to write some old tales and let the city present you with a nice plaque!

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