I read a piece the other day about five jobs that no longer exist. I'm certain there are a few hundred others that have long since gone the way of the T-Rex, but here's the five mentioned:
Milkman, ice man, switchboard operator, typing pool and elevator operator.
I suppose you can judge your age by how many of these you remember. Unfortunately, I can remember all of them, including the ice man who, in the 1940s, regularly dropped a huge block of ice in our refrigerator or, as my mother called it for many years afterwards, our ice box.
It's an OK list, but I can do them one better.
I can tell you the tools of the newspaper trade that were around in September 1968 when I first walked into the newsroom in Fargo, N.D., all of them long since surrendered to the high speed world of computerized newspapering.
The long-ago deceased typewriter is the most obvious relic, although I kept a typewriter at my desk for several years after computerization became the norm, probably in the late '70s or early '80s.
Computers were not the technological marvels they are today and when the crashes came, as they did way too often, we managed to publish via our trusty Smith-Corona.
Gone also is the good old paste pot -- so necessary to the news business that newspaper desks came with a paste pot well alongside the typewriter well.
All news stories were typed on a sheet of copy paper, triple-spaced to leave room for editing and minor rewriting.
Reporters would then paste the sheets together before turning the story over to an editor. That way, of course, there would be no missing sheets -- easier for the editor and, of course, the typesetter (another job, by the way, that no longer exists).
The teletype machines are long gone, of course. Some of my most exciting moments as an editor came via these machines.
There were, of course, the almost daily Watergate revelations from Woodward-Bernstein, read word for astounding word as they came over the wire. Watching and hearing the teletype's rat-a-tat sound in the movie ``All the President's Men'' still brings chills.
It sounds mundane today, but I always thought the most startling wire photo that came over was the incredible photo of kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, who had not been heard from since her abduction, robbing a Southern California bank and now calling herself ``Tania.'' Wow, wow, wow.
A lot of other tools are now in the archives of history: the pica pole (a 12-inch ruler that measured in picas), the sizing wheel needed to enlarge or decrease photos to fit a news hole, pencils, copy paper and, of course, the green eyeshade.
OK, I sort of lied about that last one. In all my years in the newspaper business I never saw a green eyeshade. Guess I'm not quite that old.
Contact Bob Bestler at email@example.com.