Friday, April 4, 2014

Calling cards

My grandmother who was born in 1895 in England, and who married into a patrician family in Montreal in 1918, or thereabouts, sometimes related her memories of life among the upper classes in Montreal before the Great Depression ended the patrician dream.

One of the tidbits she shared was that gentlemen had calling cards.

Today we know them as business cards.

I have two business cards.  One for my day job, and one for my volunteer job as the national chairman of a professional society.

Recently when I was in Vancouver Bob showed me his calling cards, and offered me one of each.  You see, Bob has two calling cards.  They aren't business cards, because joyriding in a Chevy Corvette is hardly business.  Neither is joyriding on a motorcycle.

His Corvette calling card is for when he's in a Corvette social setting (parading in a fleet of 'Vettes, or chatting with curious and envious passersby) and there may be an opportunity for more than a fleeting social connection.  When he isn't joyriding in the 'Vette, Bob's marauding on his R1200R or V-Strom and similar occasions arise, hence the second calling card.

Offering to trade contact information can be awkward, not to mention presumptuous.  Offering a calling card, on the other hand, is very acceptable, not at all forward, often appreciated, and harks back to an earlier more genteel period when gentlemen might "come calling" out of the blue.  The butler would come to the door, and one imagines an exchange they might have had.

"Good morning sir!"

"Yes, it is, quite.  Is his lordship receiving visitors?"

"Regrettably sir, his lordship is unavailable at present, whom shall I say stopped by?"

"I see... no sense in disturbing him, please be so kind as to accept my card and let his lordship know that I am anxious to meet with him to discuss matters of shared interest."

"Certainly sir."

"Good day then!"

Good day, sir."

In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, Steve Williams offered Bob, Karen and I his calling card last August, and Bob's friend Jenny Mah also has a calling card she offered to me that sits in my card collection.  I wonder if that's where Bob got his inspiration.  Could it be a new social trend?

At all events, since Bob and I have taken to jointly marauding all over the continent on our bikes, it's fitting for me to have a calling card too.  Since I don't have the skill to make a decent one, Bob offered to "hook me up".  He wanted to make sure I was well-equipped, socially speaking, when I go abroad in May to visit the Continent.

I have Karen to thank for the photo.  It has special meaning for me because it was taken mere moments after I hit the kill switch after rolling in to our rendez-vous point in Pennsylvania.

Here's my calling card.
I like the QR code.  It's also on my Vespa.  That makes my Vespa one heck of a calling card all by itself.

I should add that the actual calling card is razor-sharp.  I don't want anyone thinking that Bob does shoddy work.  The culprit is my iPhone and limited patience for macro photography.  Sorry Bob.


RichardM said...

I hadn't even considered cards for my blog. The only thing I really use my work business card for is entering drawings. I never even think about handing them out. A box usually lasts about as long as my title. (Things seem to change often in public education)

Nice looking card and photo.

Unknown said...


I liked your Victoria dialogue. That's it, Calling Cards, sounds much better than Hobby Cards.

Thanks to Karen for her photo which was snagged off the "net but I did thank her after we used it. You were right, much better to use an image which has a meaning

I'm happy they met with your approval

A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

SonjaM said...

And the calling card seemed to have attracted a spammer. I haven't had this Victorian sounding word in a long time, but I like it so much better than "business" card. I guess I am going to make one for me too. Thanks for the inspiration, David & Bob.

len@RE-GLAZE-IT said...

Hi David ,
I like it..... It caries a heir of gentleman quality about it ....I use cards all the time being a tradesman must.
I am really stunned when someone calls me up for my services and I show up the job and ask where did you hear about me? They then get out a card of mine and I ask where did you get it and they say and so passed it on to me .
Wonderful I think;)
Like the picture David.
Grandmother born in England ...I knew there was a connection surname is HEFFORD quite a few made over the pond to canada (late 1800s)

Trobairitz said...

Very job. Great job Bobskoot on the cards. Looking good David.

And speaking of calling cards back in the day - weren't those the times when a woman's heaving bosom above her gown was acceptable and expected, but the sight of an ankle was too risque?

Very proper times indeed.

Canajun said...

Great cards - love the idea of having the QR code on there as well. I guess it's time to refresh my tired old ones.

The City Mouse in the Country said...

I've some business cards that rarely ever get used. Maybe from now on I'll refer to them as "Calling Cards." :)

Normally I just trade my info via my phone app.

David Masse said...

Richard, I do have occasion to use my business cards quite often. That said, i sometimes use them for draws too.

As for the new calling card, I've already had occasion to hand three of them out, one of which is now in the UK.

David Masse said...

Bob I really appreciate your insight and design skills. I like having three cards. One for every single social occasion

David Masse said...

Hmm... No mercy for spammers here. Most of the spam is never seen. That one slipped by for a few hours. Oh well, I prefer not having the Turing test for commenters although it does mean having to delete spam.

David Masse said...

Len, my grandmother was from Godalming in Surrey. Susan and I visited her there when she returned to stay with her sister for the summer back in 1977. We got to see the ancestral home, a nice cottage that looked quite normal and quaint, other than the fact it was 300 years old.

David Masse said...

Brandy, we men are simple creatures. Hard working, straight forward, sometimes brave, often earnest, and totally captivated by heaving bosoms.

David Masse said...

Dave, I don't think many people know how to scan the codes. They seem to be a kind of meme for modern times more than a practical tool.

I see them in places they can't really be scanned, on trucks as part of the marketing look, on billboards, etc.

I think there's a chance they will become useful. In the meantime I like the idea that it will save someone a few keystrokes.

David Masse said...

Rob, in theory smart phones are a brilliant way to trade contact info. Most people seem to barely scratch the surface though. I have the Bump app, but on my iPhone it has to be activated first, and the other person has to have it, and have it running. That has never happened.

Now all iPhones running iOS7 have Airdrop. I've never gotten to use that either. The default is to have contact info in the e-mail signature and exchange e-mail, or send a vcard. It's amazing how even that bit eludes so many people.

I remember being at a tech conference in San Francisco when PalmPilots where the must have device. Groups of techies were standing around beaming business cards to each other. I think that was the high water mark for wireless contact info transfer.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.