Tale of the Type

My Dad’s basement also served as a rec room for many years. I learned table tennis and darts in this basement and would late use it as a jam space for myself and a few other musicians who would come down to the house and rock out.

One of my earliest memories of hanging out in the basement surrounds an old typewriter. I love the clicking sounds of the old machine and would really just hammer stuff out on it just for something fun to do. It used to sit in front of this print replica of the Mona Lisa. That picture really creeped me out. I was of the view that she looked like a broad having a reaction to smelling salts.

This old word-hammer was loud and felt like it weighed a ton. It sat down in that one spot for many years. Word Processing programs were already starting to replace typewriters by this point. Thanks to my school having some old C-64 computers, I was able to get exposure to some of the earliest word processing programs. Even though I really dug the idea of writing and just being able to print something, there was something still very cool about the sounds that come from a typewriter.

In my teens a friend gifted me with her old manual typewriter as she had bought an electronic one. I was really happy to get it. I remember it had a fairly fresh ribbon in it, so I wore it almost completely out.

That typewriter went missing sometime when I was moving residencies. My hope is that it will turn up during a search of the farmhouse where I believe it is hiding. I would probably fix it up or just have it as a piece in my home, when I have a bigger home.

The typewriter represents something classic.  It represents history in so many ways. It still has a devoted following of fans and writers who have refused to move over to word processing programs. Woody Allen apparently has written everything he has done on a typewriter and continues to work with one on future projects. Leonard Cohen is said to have written his masterpiece novel Beautiful Losers on an old Olivetti (I have a book that verifies this but right at the moment is in storage), then apparently has thrown that typewriter into the Aegean Sea.

In the brilliant romantic comedy “Love Actually” Colin Firth’s character Jamie is writing a novel pondside. When the wind takes his script and carries it into the pond he remarks “I really should make copies”.

If I learned to type on a typewriter first, then perhaps I would be less likely to make mistakes writing on computer now. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to get the exposure to the earliest word processing programs. Initially I was using the oh-so unfriendly old school WordPerfect (you know,,,the blue screen of nothing) then I moved on to much more structured programs like Microsoft Works, and then Microsoft Word.

At least by using these programs, I was not stuck having to make copies excessively or risk having something well-written ending up in a pond.

Despite never having written anything by water….


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