Time molds vivid memories from one’s past into the building blocks of one’s writing…
This Building Blocks looks at licenses; as they can say things about, and date, your characters; either correctly, contradictorily, or misleadingly.
For example, a hunting or fishing license indicates a relationship with the outdoors; but not necessarily that the character hunts or fishes. Maybe your character is a conservationist who opposes hunting and fishing, and uses the license as an ‘entrance ticket’ to hunting and fishing groups.
Some licenses can ‘date’ your character. For example, in the early 1960’s I had a Government issued Citizens Band (CB) Radio Service license to listen to the police and fire departments, and smug joking semi drivers; oh, and to talk to other CB’ers. An individual license is no longer required to operate a CB station and the Federal Communications Commission does not renew formerly issued CB Radio Service licenses.
Here are some examples of other types of licenses your characters may have/had:
Professional licenses: Such as medical and legal.
Real estate: To sell property. (This can be misleading in my bio, because I had to pass the State administered test for the license as the final exam for a university business law course.)
16mm Projector License: Yep, in 1970 the Army issued me a license to operate a 16mm projector. Although still used today professionally, your readers will probably have to google Wiki to find out what a 16mm projector is 🙂
Cab Driver: In the mid-1970’s I had to have a State cab driver’s license to drive a taxi. Today, we have Uber, and a special taxicab driver license is not a requirement for Uber drivers; they only need their state issued driver’s license.
General Radiotelephone Operator License (PG): A PG is required to adjust, maintain, or internally repair Federal Communications Commission licensed radiotelephone transmitters in the aviation, maritime, and international fixed public radio services. It is also required to operate the following: any compulsorily equipped ship radiotelephone station operating with more than 1500 watts of peak envelope power. Voluntarily equipped ship and aeronautical (including aircraft) stations with more than 1000 watts of peak envelope power.
Did I float around on a ship, or climb into the wild blue yonder? Nope; in 1967 DiscJockey Steve had to pass the Government test to get his license so he could officially read/record the radio transmission information for the college radio station.
Business License: The operator of a business is required to obtain a local government business license; yes, someone has to be responsible for collecting tax from the customers.
How about verbal licenses? Yes, one character can issue or revoke a ‘license’ for another character.
For example, when I was 25, I began going on a weekly basis to a specific downtown restaurant with my friends. One of the older waitresses, Angie, recognized me because she had worked for many years at a restaurant I would go to as a young’en; and I continued going with family and as a dating teenager until it closed. Angie would always ask about my Mom, and would ‘motherly’ monitor my behavior. About three years after I started going to the downtown restaurant, I took a young lady visiting me from Germany; and Angie, who was also from Germany, immediately liked her and considered us a ‘couple’. A week later, the girl having gone back to Germany, I went to the restaurant with my friends. Angie informed me that I would “lose (your) license to eat here” if I had the audacity to bring a different young lady! Yep, for the next three years I kept dates away from the restaurant; and Angie would give the evil eye and bad service to any girl who appeared to be flirting with me.
Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.