Remember The Clickety-Clacking & The Dings

Typewriter Keys
No one asked for my opinion but if they did I’d tell them it is cooler to say you are agnostic about whether ghost exists after Halloween has passed than during the week or two before.

When you live close to an airport you grow accustomed to the sound of planes flying overhead but you also notice when one spends extra time circling your house, especially when you are outside and look upwards in time to see it tips its wing hello to you.

Your initial thought isn’t of a ghost pilot flying a ghost plane because you don’t live in the land of Scooby Doo but if you did you’d probably be one of those meddling kids.

Yet when that same plane comes by multiple times during the same week you wonder if maybe an old friend has come to visit and you wish you could invite him in because sixteen years is too long to go between conversations.

There are so many tales to tell and stories to share about things you dream about, questions you think about and more than anything else time to listen to his journey because the only way that scientist comes back is by crossing the streams.

The Clickety-Clack Of A Typewriter

Sometimes I miss the clickety-clack sound the typewriter would make and the ding that followed. It was like a metronome I’d use to pace my writing but only when I didn’t have to stop to white out mistakes, reload the paper or try to fix a sticky key.

These are things my children can’t relate to and that is ok.

Every now and then when they are arguing about who gets to use the computer I play around with pulling out a typewriter and telling them there is no reason to fight about doing homework because they have all the resources they need.

Were I to have an opportunity to revisit meeting Richard Nixon’s Speechwriter the meeting and accompanying story would be far different than the one that came from when I was a teen.

And if it were to happen that typewriter would be all I needed to record the even for posterity. I might even choose to use it to show my children that the utility of a tool often lies in the hands of the user.

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

My son tells me that some of his classmates gave him a hard time about fracturing his arm because they said he broke too easily.

I ask him why they said that and he says it is because it happened during a soccer game and that he must have fallen on grass. I tell him they are acting silly and remind him two tons of feathers weighs as much as two tons of bricks.

He tells me it irks him and I nod my head and tell him about how my pal the ghost pilot once told me about how back east they started digging graves they would need for the winter during the summer because the ground would freeze and would be too hard to dig.

I tell him that he didn’t stop playing that day. He played two more quarters and went two more weeks without a brace or cast because we thought it was a bad bruise.

He rarely complained about it hurting. It was only after a while that we wondered if maybe he hit the ground harder than we thought so we got him checked out.

That kid of mine nodded his head but I don’t think he totally bought into it because his perspective is clouded. He is too close to see how much stronger he is and how silly they are.

A Different Kind Of Cell

It takes a different kind of cell to communicate with my pilot friend than the one I am considering purchasing. Hell, I can’t say for certain he and I have had any sort of communication other than just old memories floating to the surface of my mind but we could have had an interesting conversation.

We could have picked apart the philosophical side of whether communication was possible and torn into the scientific side. We could have had fun with it. If he heard me talking now I could ask him not to slime me and he’d laugh but who knows whether any of that is possible.

I think he’d appreciate my saying it is worth turning our thoughts upside down and inside out because sometimes the way you figure out the really interesting stuff is by doing things differently.

But doing things differently doesn’t require ignoring the past because sometimes that typewriter might be old but it is still effective.


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  1. Pingback: The Prehistoric Era of Technology Was Better...Right?

  2. Lori Gosselin November 20, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Hi Josh! As a High School graduation gift I received a portable manual typewriter. For University graduation I got an electric one. Because I learned to type in High School on those manual ones and I couldn’t hit the A’s and the “‘s and other pinky-finger keys hard enough I learned to compensate by using my ring finger, a habit I have to this day 😮
    This post brings back memories:-)

    • Josh November 20, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Lori,

      I remember when my folks got an electric typewriter for similar reasons as you mentioned. I used to have a soft finger sometimes and the letters sometimes reflected it.

  3. Seth Burleigh November 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I would have much rather broken my arm playing soccer than (a) purposefully jumping from a tree and (b) falling off a bike after hitting a wire (both true stories). And going two weeks without a cast? Tell your son he’s tougher than his jerk friends.

  4. Bren Lee November 12, 2014 at 9:06 am

    As strange as you may think it sounds, I totally get it. My IBM electric typewriter broke at work and I was dying! It wasn’t the fact that I really needed it, it was I WANTED it! I love technology but keeping some old school items around makes me very happy.

    Love your post!

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