LeBARON: Pounding out the story on a thing called a typewriter


What in the world are they?

Well, at one time, believe it or not, Mr. Ripley, they were secretaries. A typewriter was a woman who wrote letters for her boss on a new machine that ... well, you'd have to see one to believe it.

These contraptions proved to be such a good idea that they quickly evolved into an office staple and, before you knew it, almost every home had one and schools were teaching kids how to use them correctly.

I'm not going to try to explain the typewriter or its evolution. If you want to know, you can Google it (which is something you couldn't do on a typewriter) and probably learn more than you wanted to know about this technological dinosaur.

You will find that, after surviving two generations of office workers that have never touched one, typewriters are emerging from relic-hood in strange ways.

People are making jewelry out of the keys, spelling out their names on bracelets, wearing lapel pins with words like "Shift" and "Back Space" and "Tab" and "Lock."

Books have been written about typewriters and at least one network TV news show has reported, in recent weeks, that they are being rediscovered. One surprised young man was quoted, sounding stunned, that he could "just pull out the text. I don't have to have a printer!"

Gloriosky! — as Little Orphan Annie, who has gone the way of typewriter, liked to say.

WE HAPPEN to have a typewriter or two in our household — maybe even three, if I could find my old portable.

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