AN advertising sign I saw outside a Buderim house on my morning walk was a reminder of how many houses are now part home, part office. The best of both worlds, or the child of necessity?
Pondering that sign, I gave some thought to its key word, 'Bookkeeper'. For me, this had an almost quaint and certainly a nostalgic connotation.
Now, business records are crunched into spreadsheet data at the computer operator's fingertips, and in my ignorance of the bean-counting world, I wondered how much longer business record-keeping will be called bookkeeping.
My first acquaintance with the subject goes right back to the start of my secondary education. For the first few weeks I studied, or rather puzzled over bookkeeping, which my parents thought might be a useful adjunct to the nine-subject academic course. Not for me it wasn't, and my eyes still glaze over when an accountant "explains" some arcane book entry.
Another early observation of bookkeeping was at a bank in Toowoomba. No prize for guessing which one, but I wish it was still the people's bank.
As with most banks in those days, this was a stolid building that spoke of security and permanence, and its frowning façade discouraged any thought of quick and easy credit.
I visited that bank every pay day to deposit most of my cadet journalist's pittance when saving for a deposit on my first car and later to honour the promissory notes.
Those were the days when office girls, as they were then called, used to walk casually to and from the bank, stopping to chat (or to be chatted up) along the way, and carrying cloth bags full of cash These bags even had the pound sign printed on them and could have been a tempting target, but I cannot recall any of the girls being robbed.
In my mind's eye I can still see the clerks perched on high stools at desks along the back wall of the banking chamber, all with heads down, and with anti-smudge cuffs on their sleeves, writing ever so neatly in their journals and ledgers or whatever those giant tomes were called.
Looking outside the business arena, though, I wonder about the future of the book …no, not the virtual one that is rewriting publishing history. Thanks to my e-reader, I can now read Dickens, Orwell, Malouf, Winton or any one of thousands of authors at the convenient touch of a finger.
No, my concern is for that humble package of paper we call a book. How many billions of them will go into recycling bins, or worse, to land fill? Will others become mere collectables valued not for content but for their rarity and/or monetary worth? And in the ages to come, will our books be seen as primitive artefacts to be dug up by archaeologists, pored over and studied with wonderment at a long-lost skill? I like to think not.
I for one will never be a bookkeeper but will always be a book keeper. If you can find a helpful bookmaker, you can bet on that.