A Casualty in the Typewriter Revolution
I admit it. Tom Hanks, Sam Shepard, John Mayer, Ernest Hemingway, and more have convinced me, no, conscripted me into their Typewriter Revolution. I am a technophile, through and through. But there's also the part of me that's an artist, a woodworker, a tinkerer of things and stuff. There is a comfort in being able to work with your hands that gets lost in the clouds, the wireless fi's, the blue teeth of modern existence. Technology makes life and work much faster and more efficient. But are truly good things often described as fast and efficient? Were Van Gogh's paintings fast and efficient? Were Shakespeare's plays fast and efficient? A manuscript, freshly typed and bound feels magical in your hands. How does a PDF in a flash drive feel? Hey, we're all writers here. Work is work. Words are words. But why can't we enjoy the physical act of writing as much as we enjoy the craft of plot structure and character development?
Call it nostalgia. Call it lack of impulse control if you want. Either way, I bought a cheap typewriter off of eBay, a Smith-Corona Corsair Deluxe.
It was in decent shape, just a little dusty. What do you expect from a 60-year-old typewriter. Seriously, this is a 60-year-old typewriter. I cannot imagine my iPhone lasting even 5 years. They sure don't make them like they used to. I gave it a good cleaning and replaced the ink ribbon. I fed it a fresh sheet a paper and click-clack-DING-zip-click-clack.
Something came over me and before I knew it, I had typed out 8 pages of a story idea that just popped into my head. The absence of a delete button or spellcheck allowed me to get my thoughts from brain to paper at speeds heretofore unseen. It also taught me to be judicious about my words before I commit them to posterity. Before the day was even over, I bought another one, a Hermes 3000.
I started to research various models, watched YouTube videos, learning everything I could about them. And the more I learned, the more I knew that I was in deep, deep trouble. Like, there are 11 more typewriters in my eBay watch list. Make no mistake about it, I hobby the way people do cocaine, excessively with little to no self-control.
To me, they have become like antique cars. They are a testament to the workmanship and quality that doesn't exist anymore. These things still work people! A properly tuned and cleaned typewriter from the 1920's will easily last you another hundred years. No one in the world is making these machines anymore. Not like this. There is a finite supply and I gotta catch 'em all. So here I am, Sergeant Pham reporting for duty on the front lines of the typewriter revolution. Below is my account.
The orders came down from Generals Smith and Corona. We were to stage the troops 8 miles west of Olympia at the base of Mount Royal to set up the ambush. Commander Olivetti moved a battallion to a flanking position as a contingency plan should things get all pear-shaped. At a quarter to noon, we recieved communications that Colonel Underwood had suffered severe casualties just south of our location. Word was that the Groma Army was equipped with brand new Remingtons, state of the art and deadly accurate. I sent Hermes, my emissary, to relay this new intel to command. I sat by the fire at basecamp contemplating this new world order. Our foe was better equipped, faster, and more efficient. But we've outlasted plenty like them before. We know their type.