No. 860



In 1960, I gave 40 hours of my time, energy and attention each week to the stockroom of Arkansas Printing and Litho Co. in Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to keeping the shelves stocked with paper, my job was primarily to take various sizes, colors and weights of paper to the cutting machine and printing presses to begin the process of turning out a completed commercial printing job. I did this for a tidy sum of $1.35 per hour. And so I began my working career after dropping out of Arkansas A & M College in Monticello.
Soon I was promoted into the plant and given a raise to begin an apprenticeship to learn the various skills of the bindery process to become a good employee. One of the machines I had to learn to operate was called a Diddy Glazier. This was before the days of carbonless paper. We have all used those 2- to 5-part forms and had to press hard to make sure you could read the copies that were near the back. In those days we had large sheets of carbon paper, with a one-inch strip down the side with a raw edge, meaning no carbon. Using a ream of 500 sheets of carbon paper, you took it to the cutting machine to be cut to size the form was going to be.
Now, here is where the fun started. The Diddy Glazier was a machine about 30 feet long with a series of seven stations where stacks of paper were placed to be separated by air jets and deposited on a conveyor belt for the journey to the end of the machine. Each station had a cylinder that rotated with a row of glue tips timed to arrive at the spot to coincide with the arrival of the paper. If you had a four-part form, you also had three pieces of carbon, with the raw edges to receive the glue, so they would all stick together to produce the finished form.
You had to get this machine set up with all the adjustments in perfect timing so it would run and pick up each from along the journey to turn out a finished product. If just one part, or station, was out of adjustment (or out of whack) you had a paper jam or some other problem that caused the machine to stop. This was particularly critical when the parts were numbered, which was the case on most of the forms. Well, believe it or not, it took a little while but I got to where I could operate this machine with a great deal of efficiency. This is also the kind of efficiency that I would like to see on the part of our Congress and federal government.
I see a parallel here between the machine I have described getting out of whack, and many of the values we have in America also getting out of whack. Let’s explore this a little more, and I believe what I am saying will be more clear. It’s a simple concept. If you don’t first see the problem, there is no way to fix it. As a starting point, let’s use the group of people that we call “The Greatest Generation.” These are the people who helped us win World War II, which was really the turning point in our nation’s history. In those days, a man’s word was his bond. We had respect for our fellow man, children were taught manners and there was a price to pay when they got out of line. Families were also the center piece of our society.
To be sure, in those days we did not see the scandals, the crime, bulging welfare rolls and an entitlement society. What happened? It started with the free-love, if it feels good do it, generation of the Vietnam War. Aided by several decisions of the Supreme Court, and with an all-out attempt to remove God from our culture, it’s just like making copies of copies, and each succeeding generation moving us further to the left, and now chaos reigns. We all pay a price when our values are out of whack.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)