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if i had to own a typewriter...

One of the interesting parts of being born in 1975 is that in my elementary school days I saw no typewriters whatsoever. The school I went to had Apple II computers, as in the green-screen kind where everything was in upper-case letters whenever you typed on it. The only real typewriter I ever saw growing up was the one my dad had, and I barely remember it. I have fuzzy memories of him using it only twice. For the time it was one of those ultra-moderinzed typewriters where everything was totally electronic, including the carriage return; there was almost nothing manual about it. I can't remember the manufacturer but I do remember it being off-white colored, similar to the putty color of PCs in the early 1990s.

I have never typed up a document on a real typewriter in my life, and if you sat me in front of one, it would take me a few minutes to even figure the thing out.

There is, admittedly, a part of me that would like to own a typewriter just because it's a very organic writing experience. And of course it's a lot easier on the eyes.

Okay, I have to explain the eyes thing. Even if you type up all your stuff on a laptop (like I do) and dim the screen during long haul writing sessions, your eyes simply get tired and everything starts to blur; this happens to people even with the best of eyesight. However on a typewriter you are basically only limited to how long your hands can hold out until they cramp up from writing so much. In other words, you could spend 6 hours typing on a typewriter if you were suddenly inspired to do so. But can you do the same on a laptop or PC with a backlit screen? No way. Yeah, I know there are gamers out there who can play for 10 hours at a time, but this isn't gaming, this is writing. Totally different. And if you're wondering how you'd get what you type on paper into digital format, that's not a problem as there is free OCR (optical character recognition) software you can download to do just that. Plunk down the paper on the scanner, scan, software reads it and translates into editable digital text. Yeah, I know that sounds like a pain in the ass but for some it's an amicable solution.

Amazingly, new electronic typewriters are still made today, and that's cool. The cost to get one is under 120 bucks. Amazon sells them. One is the Brother SX-4000. And there are, incredibly, manual typewriters still available for sale new like this one, which costs a little more at just under $140. But I'd go with the electric.

If I had my choice of whatever I wanted, I'd go with a 1980s-era Smith-Corona electric in blue with the sterling cartridge just because of how awesome it looks:

Before the electrics came around, this same typewriter in manual form had white keys and the electrics had black. Yeah, I'd prefer the white keys but heck, I wouldn't refuse it. 🙂

Getting one of those 70s/80s era Smith-Corona electrics isn't a problem because they're actually pretty cheap. What is a problem however is getting one that works 100%. It's totally possible that a $35 Smith-Corona of the 1980s bought today would need $200 worth of refurbishing just to get the thing working right. Worth it? Yeah, I think so because when refurb'd it can last 20+ years. I mean, they still work today even though some were made 30+ years ago, so refurbishing one should easily last a few decades. But it's an investment, no doubt about that. You'd have to find someone that actually knows how to completely refurbish/restore one of those things from top to bottom and everywhere in between.

Anyway, even though I've never actually typed up a complete document on a typewriter, I'd like to someday because it's just a different way of writing.

What would I use a typewriter for? Not for blogging because that's inherently an internet thing and always was. But I would use it to type up letters to send to others in the mail. As in postal mail. I could set up a PO box for people to send me letters, and then I could send reply letters back.

Why bother doing that (especially since it costs money for paper, envelopes and postage)? Because it's a lot more personal and genuine. Yeah, we have email and Facebook and all that and it works pretty well, but at times electronic communcations are a bit impersonal. To actually get real mail on real paper that was manually typed out is just plain cool. You're excited to receive something like that. It makes you happy; that's why you do it.

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