Thursday, May 06, 2010

American Life at 173 mph

What I wouldn’t give for a typewriter. A real nice vintage one. The kind you would see on Citizen Kane or in an old picture of Hunter S. Thompson. If my memory serves me well, and it rarely does, there used to be one tucked away in my best friend’s attic. Not at all sure what happened with it, but I wouldn’t put it past the poor saps to have slapped a $1 tag on it in their annual Spring garage sale. Unfortunate, to say the least.

My fascination with typewriters may be chalked up with a simple love for all things old. Cars, quills, clothing styles, black and white photographs, music, you name it. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that they require a relatively decent amount of finger coordination. Mistakes aren’t easily glossed over. Errors are obvious, smudged over with White Out. Were I to be tapping away on one of these typewriters at this very moment, this entry would be as mark-free as Henry Earl's wrap sheet.

But this post isn’t really about typewriters. At least not directly. Instead, as with most other things, it correlates to my obsession with all things socio-political.

Americans live life fast and furious, tapping away at their keys without but a care in the world. The delete key, unlike the White Out of old, provides the luxury of fumbling around without having to pay much mind to errors. A simple backspace and all is well. Most forget just how many times, and exactly on what words, they utilize this feature. This allows them to fumble through life while minimizing the number of visible cover-ups by which to recall their errors. Pounding out words and actions as if they bear no consequence. Easily out of sight, easily out of mind. This is the American way.

Life may be dandy when all is easily forgotten, but it's those very errors, as well as the reflections thereupon, that make us all the better. We see common mistakes, we notice redundancies, and we get a better grasp on where fine-tuning is in demand. It is here that we begin to more accurately realize our need for betterment, and where exactly these things are to be found. This is not so when all is blotted out with broad strokes and no visible remains.

While I may have a personal passion for the nostalgic, I am by no means encouraging all to return to the yesteryear of typewriters and quills. But maybe it would do us well to be more cautious, more calculated, and more willing to reflect long and hard on those areas in life where haste took precedence over prudence.

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6 Comments:

At 4:58 AM , Blogger B. Lee Wainscott said...

Wonderful point, reflection, and observation!

 
At 12:22 PM , Blogger kkollwitz said...

The typewriter is one of the signature inventions of the West.

 
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