Humour Column: Before virtual reality, we'd go to the pub
FOLKS, it wasn't so long ago that Gladstone's pubs were what us old people used before internet search engines.
Before social media, if you were looking for a job, a tradie, pet, some dodgy retail goods, a shoulder to cry on, cheap seafood or true love, the first place you'd go was your favourite watering hole.
Pubs were also the place to pick up the latest local news or gossip.
I became a reporter in order to hang out in pubs listening for yarns.
As it turns out, I was grossly misinformed about where we actually sourced our news from.
Here's a newsflash: it's not at the pub.
Anyway, over the years I've met plenty of people who pulled into town during the 1970s for a quick drink or a bite to eat and nearly 50 years later, they're still here.
One mate was on his way to Cairns and was offered a job before he'd finished his first beer.
He's been a local ever since.
He finally flew to Cairns three years ago, for a holiday.
My dearly departed banking mate Al Cummins often told me most of the loans he approved back in the day were done over bar counters.
"We'd agree on a figure, finish our drinks then go back to the bank to sign the paperwork," he said.
"The publican would even give us a jug of beer to take back to the office."
Oddly, there was no need for Royal Commissions into dodgy financial dealings back then. Just saying.
Finally, the pub was also the place to go if you wanted advice or help with a personal problem.
My uncle claimed regular visits to the RSL helped him deal with his issues after the war.
Like most men of his generation, he preferred to share his personal anxieties with a group of unqualified, boozy layabouts rather than visit a professional counsellor.
Still, if you're paying for the beer you'll always find someone prepared to pretend listen to your woes.
For various reasons, we don't visit the pub to socialise any more. Perhaps someone's developed a pub app?
I'll ask next time I'm at the pub.