A few years ago I found my old typewriter in the shed. It was a graduation gift (high school) from my mom who had dreams of my becoming an international news correspondent and traveling the world with a typewriter.
My typewriter and I didn’t travel the world but we did have a few adventures — lots of homework during my undergrad years, editorial columns for the Western Graphic — the newspaper of Colorado Womans College (one of which got me thrown out of the school), my senior thesis at the university of Colorado, tons of papers in grad school but NOT (thanks be to the powers) my masters thesis. By then I had a clerical job, a nice big desk and an IBM Selectric II with a cool little white ribbon that would correct my mistakes if I told it to. OK, I had to hang out at the office a lot, but so what?
I learned at about the same time that people collect old typewriters and use them as “decor.” What? They’re not easy to keep clean. Their little arms with the letters on them get greasy and dusty. I learned that people even use them to TYPE ON!!!! How precious is THAT?
I remember thinking it had to be a response to a perverse atavistic urge to learn to live with one’s mistakes because, well, every single paper I typed on mine ended up with the words:
“Good ideas! Proofread!!!“