Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get it yourself

From the days when doctors made house calls and when you could call your neighborhood grocery store and ask them to bring you a pound of lunch meat and a loaf of bread, trucks like the one shown here driven by men wearing uniforms would bring the milk. Usually very early in the morning just before dawn. When I think of all of the people who are out of work because jobs are scarce I am reminded of all of the jobs that no longer exist, and then I face the reality that all of the jobs that have left, either by farming them out to other countries or because certain services are no longer practical are gone for ever. Then I find more reasons to revisit a better time and I have more fodder for my catalogue of short stories. The sound of the truck stopping in front of your house before 6:00 AM was silenced sometime before the late 1960s but I swear I didn't notice it until years later. Like everything else I guess. Things we take for granted go away without much fanfare sometimes and then one day we wake up and wonder when it happened. The disappearance of the milk man and his truck came years before the disappearance of the careers I chose before becoming a police officer. In my book "Deputy in Disguise" I shared stories about planning a career as a printer, hopefully landing a job at the Columbus Dispatch Printing Company or even a smaller shop as a press operator. To prepare for that I enrolled in vocational printing classes at Columbus South High School and studied the craft for three years and learned to operate a variety of presses. Today everything I learned then has become obsolete because anyone with a computer and a printer can master their own printing needs. I never pursued that dream and I'm sure I am better off today for deciding on a broadcasting career instead. Even more secure because I left that industry when I did to become a cop, because even most of the broadcasting jobs I held through the years are gone now, replaced by technology. Instead of disc jockey's like me manning radio studios twenty four hours a day stations are serving up satellite feeds from faraway places and offering that as entertainment. A good economic move for them to eliminate all of those jobs but tough on people who worked long and hard for years as radio announcers. There are still a few of them around who actually do work in local stations and who are really live at the moment we hear their programs, but like the way we get our milk now we usually have to get our music ourselves also. I am speaking of course of persons like me who are over fifty, and especially anyone still on the planet who was around in the 1940s. And if you were here in the 1930s or anytime before that forget it. There isn't anything left. There are a few stations scattered about that play small doses of pre 1965 music, usually ones with weak signals that are difficult to tune in, but because the choices for music radio are so limited to the so-called baby boomer generation it is sometimes easier to drag out old records and CDs, or with technology as it is just google song titles and listen to you tube postings. Nevertheless, something that is abundant on radio now is talk. Lots of talk, and if you enjoy hearing others tear down our country and sing the praises of people who are at the root of job losses and other miseries than you are in luck! Sometimes it is all politics all the time. A lot of what stations are offering now is programming that features pissed off people like Rush Limbaugh and a guy named Hannity. They are satellited right to your radio to remind you everyday how bad things are. That's their job. To bitch and moan about everything and everyone they don't like but offer no solutions to make things better. Great listening if you scare easily and enjoy being sacred, but if you turn on a radio hoping to find something to make you feel good, well...

As a popular radio announcer who worked for decades in Cincinnati recently said when asked if he might one day return to the airwaves..."You have to be pretty angry to want to be on the radio now. I'm not that mad at the world"
I'm not either, just a little sad when I look at it now.

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