YOU PROBABLY heard that Smith-Corona went belly up. That's right. Typewriters are dying and computers are taking over the world. Although none of us ever say, "The typewriters are DOWN," we are getting rid of them anyway, because they just aren't stylish.
Some people with a historical or cultural streak are keeping a couple in their houses for decorative reasons. But who would ever think of actually typing on one of these monstrosities?No one, apparently.
We have a couple around the newspaper that people sometimes use if they want to type up an envelope and are too lazy to use the computer.
My own personal use for my IBM Selectric is to type my daily schedule on a 3 x 5 card. It's my own amazing version of one of those bulky, thick planners. I guess 3 X 5 cards and envelopes will not save any typewriter company from going under.
It makes you feel nostalgic, though, doesn't it?
I received my first Smith-Corona as a gift from my parents when I started college. It was a compact portable edition, and I carried it everywhere. I thought I was pretty cool, because most of my fellow students didn't type.
All I needed to do was change the ribbon occasionally, and use an old toothbrush to clean the keys. I don't recall ever taking it to be repaired.
Some have said the reason you didn't hear about carpal tunnel syndrome in those days is that the exercise of shoving the carriage back to the front of the line provided just enough variety.
I know I never lost anything, unless I yanked the paper out and tore it up myself.
I typed thousands of college papers on my little Smith-Corona and hesitated to put it into retirement. Nevertheless, it was amazing how gentle the IBM Selectric was to the touch. Best of all, I could backtrack and erase a mistake.
Wow. Sure couldn't do that with the old Smith-Corona.
Nevertheless, it was only a question of time before the Selectric also slipped into obscurity. Once computers became a household word, no one could speak out against them unless they wanted to appear as a relic of a bygone society.
Even if I wanted to keep working on a typewriter, how could I do it and still hold up my head?
"So - what kind of computer do you have?"
"Uh - I don't have one."
"You DON'T? What kind of a BOZO ARE you? Computers are IN. They're wonderful! You can't LIVE without computers!"
"Uh - I sort of like my typewriter."
"TYPEWRITER? You've gotta be kidding!"
Well, we have a new computer now with lots of extras. It has thousands of megabytes and is a wonder to behold - except it has crashed 4 times. The last time we had to have a new motherboard installed. Now the power source may be corrupt.
But when it works you can cut and paste hundreds of different ways, all without starting over or tearing anything up. You can use illustrations. You can choose among numerous styles and sizes of type. Even if it occasionally suffers a technological problem, I would never give it up.
Especially now that we also have a laser printer.
Only thing is, I read the other day about WINDOWS 95, a system about to hit the market that will provide a major upgrade to the computer. Guess I just have to count on getting a new one about every 3 years. This system is not likely to outlive my old Smith Corona.
That fact alone will keep me from feeling sentimental about the computer.