28 January 2006

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.

The above is the first sentence I ever typed on a typewriter. To warm up my fingers I type it now on a computer keyboard, but back in the olden days I used first an old Royal, then an IBM Selectric-man! We were stylin' when we got the Selectric!

For those of my readers who follow the re-incarnation writing, here is the history lesson for tonight-when the first machines for writing began to be mass-produced, and offices-oh yeah, offices have been around in one form or another for all of man's recorded history-made the shift to a more 'modern' approach, the most progressive hired a typewriter-the official name for the first scribes to use the machine professionally. They had schools, and everything. And when they graduated-all men by the way at first-the certificate awarded proclaimed the graduate to be a certified typewriter. A man could command a pretty good salary with one of the machines and the certificate.

OK, after a while, men got bored sitting at a desk all day; they 'let' a few women become typewriters. But truthfully, nice girls didn't grow up to be typewriters, not in those days. In fact, nice girls did not visit offices, even if their daddy owned the office. Just not done, you see. (Before the war my uncle had a ticker in the library and that was as close to any office equipment I was allowed to come in contact with until I died in '49, and came back in '56. It was quite interesting to watch him literally play the market from it. We lost nothing in the Depression-silly, did you think America the only country to suffer grave losses during the Depression?-because the family NEVER 'plays' the market, but keeps a finger on the pulse to see which way the wind is blowing the economy. I still pay attention...) The old Royal, first played with in my dad's office in the 1960's, was the first writing machine I had ever seen up close, or touched.)

I fell in love, frankly. Such a marvel to be able to get nearly all of one's thoughts down almost as fast as the thoughts took shape...There is a lot to love about the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Caller ID, word processors, the electric sewing machine with 62 built in stitches...

But I miss handwriting. I miss sealing wax, the sand and blotters; the sound of a good tip on good paper-the scratch is not at all annoying, rather it is uniquely satisfying. Sometimes at work when I am signing off on something, I catch a faint hint of the sound and it brings back such lovely memories.

Then something will happen to bring me back to current times, and I am immersed in the struggle to keep my head above rapidly rising sewer water.

I read an op-ed piece in the online Washington Post a few days ago, lamenting the pornification of our society.

OK, now I am really concerned, because the writer knew what he or she was writing about. Things are not good. Not at all good.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party...


  1. The earliest typewriters had a serious flaw... the little arms kept getting in each others' way and snarling up.

    So they designed the key layout to put the most commone letters in awkward locations to slow things down.

    And we are stuck with it!


    (Thank you for the prayer... I'm not sure what to do right now except to continue to pray.)


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