Sunday, September 20, 2009

Underwood Duece & A Quarter

On a whim I unearthed my old typewriter, an Underwood 225.  Just a tank of a machine.  No frills.  Hardly any features.  This model doesn't even do Tabs.  When I brought it out my son (15) asked what it was.  I opened the case and his eyes got big. I chuckled, "This is something you haven't seen before."  The concept of a manually, totally unplugged, typing device was completely foreign to him.  "How does the carriage move?" he asked tentatively pressing the space bar.

So I set up a couple of milk crates in the shed and rolled in the first blank piece of paper.  The monumental in-the-moment sense of facing the blank page came flooding over me.  As I found the home row and tried to type the date at the top of my letter I was stumbled.  How much of this country's or this world's business/history/correspondence was beaten out on this type of mechanical monster.  How great was the hand strength of all those secretaries who forged the written word long before the advent of electricity - and even beyond.

The letter I produced for Rosemary, away at college, was filled with faint letters, missed spacing and overstrikes.  Yet it is a letter by my own hand in real time.  I found myself wonderfully centered.  I have to construct each sentence and place it correctly the first time.  I have to be cognizant of each keystroke as I have no cursor to move at my leisure and Cut&Paste my mistakes.  I do not have a spell-checker to correct my atrocious speling (*smirk*).  I do not have a grammar checker to alert me to run-on sentences or improper pronoun usage or even the dreaded double-space between words.

If you have an old manual monster quietly collecting dust somewhere I heartily recommend you drag it out and give it a try.

Posted via email from Pa^2 Patois

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