Thursday, February 09, 2006

Times Change

Just one little story to illustrate the “Old Days”. Back in the early and mid- 50’s college graduates in the sciences capable of doing research were pretty well able to write their own ticket. All chemists with any clout would go to the annual convention of the American Chemical Society. My company would agree to send us, but they would only pay for three-in-a-room accommodations. I arrived in Atlantic City somewhat early and went to check-in to one of the big hotels there at that time. The stereotypical, supercilious room clerk took my name and, noting the three in a room reservation, rather haughtily told me, “Ah yes, you will be sharing a room with the Drs. ‘Smith’” I replied that I felt that wouldn’t be satisfactory. The poor jerk would not believe that one of the Doctors might be a Mrs. Dr. Smith that went with a Mr. Dr Smith. Then he blamed everyone else for what he called the “error”. Finally a Hotel Manager calmly gave me a single and left the Smiths alone in the triple. So all but the clerk were happy. It made for a standing joke between the Smiths and I for years. One of the Dr. Smiths went on to be a big wheel in the chemical industry. ...but I won’t tell you which.

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