Monday, April 30, 2018

Bring back The Typewriter

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Bring back The Typewriter
Bring back The Typewriter

My connection on the Internet broke down today -- again.

I am nowhere near an expert when it comes to repairing my personal computer. I leave that job to Jeff, one of my two roommates, who is the house expert and who can fix anything electronic.

Now I realize the Internet is a great boon to humanity. The people living in the Caribbean on the islands where I once worked -- St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Maarten -- think the Internet is a gift to mankind and they are correct.

The islanders use their computers to set up businesses, make friends, and earn money in a variety of ways. The Internet supplies them with the knowledge that mankind has been able to accumulate over the centuries between wars and rumors of wars.

But -- and this is a big but -- computers are not perfect.

In the early days of the Internet I remember how a bolt of lightning on a clear day could instantly wipe out all the words of a story I had been writing. It was not saved. That technology had not yet been worked out, so I would have to go back to the drawing board and do everything over.

It was a pain I had to learn to live with.

I use my computer for so many things. When I want to brush up on my strategy for poker, horse racing, or controlling my throws at a dice table, I do a simple search and the knowledge appears instantly on the screen. You can't beat that kind of service.

I write my stories for these websites on my computer. In the old days when I used my Remington typewriter, I would sometimes struggle for a lead and throw away sheet after sheet of paper until I came up with the proper words.

Early in my college days, I came across a magazine article that stated Ernest Hemingway, my hero, wrote his books standing up. He claimed it kept the oxygen flowing properly to his brain and helped him think. I tried that a few times but it tired me and I gave it up.

I loved using a typewriter to create my stories. There was a rhythm and flow of words on a typewriter that just don't exist on a computer.

Progress is wonderful, but it does have its limitations. Today I can take my PC with me wherever I go. I can instantly pull up whatever information I need for whatever subject that interests me.

The first typewriter I ever used belonged to a neighbor named Mary. I was 15 and my father had built our family a house on Sutersville Hill in Western Pennsylvania.

Mary was a sweet young woman who lived in the house next to ours. When she learned I was an aspiring author, she insisted I use her typewriter to compose my stories. I will never forget her generosity. I borrowed her typewriter and didn't return it until the summer ended and I returned to school where typewriters were available.

I used a typewriter to cover breaking news stories for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner for four glorious years. I covered murders, earthquakes, criminal trials, fires and plane crashes. It was heady stuff for a young journalist and my typewriter never let me down.

But when the Internet breaks down through overuse by the people of the world or for whatever reason, I find myself secretly wishing that the world would bring back the typewriter. It will never happen, of course. The typewriter belongs to the ages. But it's a nice thought.

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