Sunday, January 21, 2007

Just My Type(writer)

While it was never my original intent to turn this blog into an Antiques Roadshow competitor, that is the turn it has been taking of late. If you're not into old things, you might want to flip channels. If you are, stay tuned for a tale of lost relics, vulgarity and passion.

This, blogpals, is my first typewriter.

Now, I know: "WHa?!?!" you're shouting to the screen before you as you sputter forth flavorful capuccino and/or mouth-swished gatorade. Yet, no, I'm not much older than you thought. This ancient machine of uncertain age and lineage was purchased for me by my grandmother when I was but a young, nerdy writer whelp of 12 or 14. Though it languished in my mom's hall closet for many years, unreachable due to crap piled 10 feet high in there, recently we took stuff out of the closet and so it has returned.

It is still functional but for the lack of a ribbon -- it can type in black AND red, given the proper ribbon. To make the letters, a metal arm jumps forth from inside when a key is pressed and strikes the paper. It makes the COOLEST "clackclackclackclackityclack" sounds when you press its keys, like an old newscast background sound. If I type at my current speed on it, some of the keys crowd in as they try to strike the paper and stick together, frozen there mid-print.

I had a thought to post some of my writings of that time, but most were so vulgar or insipid that they are doubtless a violation of my Blogger usage agreement (see clause 3215b: "User shall not post adolescent sexual fantasies regarding members of the rock band Van Halen").

I feared it lost upon the recent move of all the stuff from my childhood home, and grew quite pissy. My brother retrieved it, though. It's one of those things that, even though I hadn't seen it for two decades, I still wanted it back, because it is emblematic of who I am. From my earliest story (about a litter of puppies on a farm and their mother, and which tragically lacked a plot) to this here post right now, writing is part of who I am.

Out of curiosity, and though I'd never sell it, I checked its value on eBay. Result? This antique machine is thought to be from the 40's or 50's and I could purchase a whole family of them if I wanted at a cost of $1.00 each ( + approximately $87.00 shipping -- the thing weighs 50 pounds easily).

Still, you can't put a price on memories, or on the hormonal rantings of a bored 13 year old.

Drivel such as that wouldn't even sell on eBay.

7 comments:

Steven Novak said...

She's a beaut. An absolute beaut.

Steve~

BrideOfPorkins said...

Wow. I wrote my first story on my mom's Royal typerwriter too. I still have the story--even though it reads like a Terry Gilliam vision--but tragically the typewriter was given away and destroyed. When we moved, there was another Royal typewriter just sitting in the shed, and I claimed it, but my family couldn't understand the fixation and the ribbonless typewriter suffered the same fate as the old wooden shed.

I have a long line of tragic relationships with typewriters; electrical problems claimed both of my "word processors," so now I just protect this computer with an army of stuffed toys and pictures. Really, universe, there's nothing here to destroy....

You protect that typewriter--I'm thinking a laser cage around it.

Dave Morris said...

I love that damn typewriter.

We used to have an old one like that to write our newscasts on. We also had an old WWII vintage teletype cranking out Associated Press stories by the REAMS. The extra paper would pile up behind the machine and we'd have to pull it out, rip off what we'd need, and throw the rest into the fireplace to burn.

The radio station was in a little log cabin in the woods, by the way. All true.

Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Ari said...

I think so, Steve, and thank you for saying so. I shined 'er up with WD-40. :)

Aww... sorry to hear that, BoP. I had an earlier toy typewriter that got broken and never fixed. This was my first one that WORKED. I am sad to hear of your bad luck with typewriters. I hope you are free of such vexation from now on.

Dave, that is the COOLEST story. I suspect your coolness is scarcely fathomable. :)

BrideOfPorkins said...

RIP Toy Typewriter, you may have been a toy, but I bet all the grown-up typewriters wish they were as colorful.

Thanks for the wish of protection...I figure I'll always remember the lost typewriters by the way they went out. I mean, I didn't tell you about the little blue typewriter that sits downstairs in the closet, with its 25-year-old ribbon, probably wishing it was self-automated so it could write me a letter and ask why I never come to see it. I suddenly feel like a very bad person for forgetting that typewriter.

And that IS a cool story, Dave.

Ari said...

You crack me up, BoP. Perhaps you should schedule a visit to that poor forgotten machine.

Trevor Record said...

You know some people are really into using typewriters. It's sort of a hip thing to do, like collecting records. Not quite as common because it is really hard to argue that typing with a typewriter is somehow "better".

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