Dying to know all the happenings at the Gladstone Show? I’ll text you the details

I’m just popping into my study to attend to my emails and I may be some time. If you haven’t heard from me by this time next week, send out an alert.

Mar 11, 2024, updated Mar 11, 2024
One of the text messages Aaron White received from a payday loan company. Photo: Array

One of the text messages Aaron White received from a payday loan company. Photo: Array

I don’t imagine I will get to all of them in that time but I am going to give it a crack.

I may be too busy attending to my emails to actually do any work. You know the feeling?

I heard recently of someone switching off email in their office and how liberating that was for them. The problem is, imagine how many emails they had when they switched it back on!

I set aside time each week to catch up on email but I never quite get to the bottom of them. I’m terrified I may have missed something important. You’d think that if I did, someone would ring me but no-one wants to use their phones to actually make calls nowadays.

“Text me,” is the classic brush off.

I’m wondering how we managed before smart phones and email. How did we communicate? How did people communicate with us?

When I started in journalism we were still working on typewriters and getting news by phone or Telex. Remember Telex? In the newsroom we had this Telex machine in the corner spitting out long reams of communiques.

Telex saved my bacon once. I was 23 years old and working at The Morning Bulletin in Rockhampton and was sent to Gladstone for the day to cover the Gladstone Show. Unfortunately, I drank two bottles of wine the night before and was sick as a dog.

By the time the photographer and I got to Gladstone I was in the backseat lying down pretty well catatonic. I spent the whole assignment in that position much to the disgust of the gnarly old snapper I was with.

He made disparaging remarks about how the young folk of today cannot hold their liquor. Sensibly I am now teetotal but, in those days, I hadn’t quite learnt my lesson yet.

The question was – how was I going to write a story about my day at the Gladstone Show when I wasn’t able to get out of the car?

A mate worked on the paper in Gladstone and when he found me in the car, he promised to Telex me his story so I could copy it. I should add that you should never do this!

I recovered on the drive back to Rocky and rang him when I arrived in the office around 4pm, still a bit worse for wear. I gave him the go ahead to send the story and I hovered around the Telex machine waiting for it. I ripped it off as soon as it came through, rushed back to my desk and wrote it up, tweaking it a bit. Job done.

Of course, if that happened today, I would just ask ChatGPT to write me a story about the Gladstone Show and that would be that.

It’s a brave new world, isn’t it? Now excuse me, since writing this another 50 emails have come through and I must attend to them immediately.


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