I just bought a new keyboard for my desktop computer. It’s wireless, solar, and completely freaking awesome. This sleek, shiny bit of silver heaven has keys that clack in just the right tone, respond to the exact amount of pressure, and are as smooth as Scottish whiskey. I’m in heaven, can you tell?
I’ve admitted before that I have a serious office supply issue. I hoard the stuff. I LIVE for back to school sales even though my kids are using materials I bought ten years ago. (Hey, when Target has a sale on a six-pack of spiral notebooks for a penny, you are obligated to clean them out.) However, the day I brought home Laird (that’s my keyboard. Don’t even try to follow my logic with that name. It involves comics, surfing, and Scotland. Somehow.) I sat and stared at it for a good long time and thought back to my eight grade year of junior high. When I learned how to type. On a typewriter.
I can hear some of you asking “What’s a typewriter?”
The dictionary has some weird-assed explanation about imparting letters on papers when keys are struck in a ribbon-operated machine. I prefer to think of a typewriter as a joyous conduit to the land of creativity. Computers are awesome. They make writing, re-writing, and submitting much easier than a typewriter. No more having to re-type whole pages of a manuscript because you’d changed something. No more strange white flakes from using the correction tape. No more XXXXs over strikethroughs and moving on.
It is true computers don’t have the charm of a typewriter. There’s no resistance to finger pressure on the keys, no metallic ding as you write your words, no charming chatter of the return bar as it slides from one end of the page to the other. The younger generations will never know the joy of centering a piece of paper into the roller and winding it to the exactly perfect spot to start their epic novel.
Ah, the good ole days.
I really liked writing on a typewriter but I’m a techno geek, too. In the 80s, I remember begging my parents for the latest and greatest invention — a word processor. Yes, computers were around by then but those were the models with KB of RAM and too darn expensive. But a Smith-Corona four line personal word processor that used 31/2 inch diskettes? AND could print? Now we’re talking. I put away my well-worn typewriter and proceeded to wreak fictional havoc on my SC. I still have some of those diskettes, though the contents are nowhere near readable.
After the 80s, things got hot and heavy in the computer world. Prices dropped, memory and capabilities increased, dot matrix printers were replaced by laser printers. My faithful Smith-Corona joined its dusty comrade the typewriter and I haven’t looked back since.
These days, I write on a desktop, a laptop, a Galaxy Tablet, and my phone. All this newfangled, spectacular technology is a wondrous thing but sometimes I long to pull out my old typewriter, roll up a crisp, blank page and go to town.
I wonder if I can still buy ribbons for it?