Graduating from college in 1954 as a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant, we were told that an officer should have business cards.

Graduating from college in 1954 as a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant, we were told that an officer should have business cards.

Maybe the military termed them as calling cards. Supposedly, these cards were to be presented or left with the brass at a social gathering. Protocol required that these cards be engraved. That summer before I entered service, I went shopping for those engraved cards. I learned that such printing required a special plate which cost me 11 bucks. Today, this would be equivalent to well over $100.

During my two years in the military, I didn't have occasion to use a single card. Crawling in the mud in Germany didn't require a calling card. If you would like one of those cards, give me a call. I still have a supply. This experience soured me on business cards.

Years later as Superintendent in Neosho, someone called the office wanting a Key Club member to rake their leaves. The club had announced this service as a fund raiser. Rather than going through the usual channels by calling the principal's office, I expedited matters by delivering the message directly to the Key Club President.
When I talked to him, he said, "Let me give you my business card." I was impressed. If the Key Club President has business cards, certainly the Superintendent of Schools should have them. I placed an order for 100 cards. Aside from the cards I gave the kids, I trashed about 90 of them when I retired.

Eventually, we could print our own at school so I ordered a supply for all the administrators. Even with this gesture we weren't keeping up with East Newton. One Christmas my wife Ann brought home a pack which had been supplied to all the teachers. Many of the teachers handed them out at parent conferences.

Today people are more inventive with their business cards. You can create your own in color on the computer. My brother printed me a supply before he died. When I told a niece I was about to run out, she sent me another batch. My primary use for the cards is to write myself notes. About half of my Rolodex are my own cards with someone else's address and phone number written on the back.

You can even put your picture on your business cards, but that wouldn't enhance mine. I have even seen cards in 3-D. Debbie Werneke at Silhouette Imaging can laser print the cards in wood. Visiting with our daughter Beth, I became friends with H. Jackson Brown, a Nashville promoter and author of "Life's Little Instruction Book," which made the best seller list. The license plate for his car is MUSIC and that's big in Nashville.

I asked him for his business card, thinking I would have Debbie print him some neat ones on wood. He told me he didn't have one. Maybe I was right in the first place with my disdain for business cards.

Roy Shaver writes a weekly column for the Daily News.