Yeah, I know the internet rules the world. I’m no dummy.
But there are some things the internet will never replace. Things like: biscuits, the love of a good dog, hugs from your mother, and приклад.
Let me explain:
Right now, I am writing you from a typewriter. It is a Lettera 32. It is old, ugly, and Staph-Infection Green. The thing once sat atop my childhood desk. My mother gave it to me.
Long ago, I used to write tales of the high seas, spy stories, and Westerns. I wanted to become a writer back then. But time moves you forward and you end up becoming things you never thought you would.
I don’t know what I became.
Anyway, in our digital world, it’s not easy writing on a typewriter. For one thing, there’s the problem of getting all these inky words into a computer. It’s a real pain
First you have to scan each page of paper—unless you want to retype all your words.
Then, you have to wait fifteen minutes for your computer to translate typeface into digital text. The software, which was manufactured in a third-world sweatshop, is crummy.
Civilized man can put a fella on the moon, but we are stuck with software that translates the simplest icon within the history of human language, “I,” into “приклад.”
Thusly, wherever the word “I” has appeared in this column, it is because I have physically removed “приклад” and replaced it with “I.”
In spite of the aforementioned, this is a small price to pay for recapturing childhood.
Pressing these keys makes me feel light years younger. Furthermore, there is no internet to distract me, no bright screen, no email alerts involving the prince of Nigeria, no pop-up ads advertising reverse mortgages, no updates on the best-dressed at the Oscars.
This Seafoam Green, non-electric machine takes me back in time.
When I was a boy, I remember writing one particular story on this typewriter. It was a book report about the Three Musketeers. I gave it to my fifth-grade teacher. She didn’t care for my creative liberties.
Namely, she didn’t approve of my fourth musketeer, named Le Séan. She also disliked the harem of scandalous females who were always throwing themselves at Le Séan, sometimes even jumping out of plate glass windows or into interstate traffic.
I stressed to my teacher that this dashing Musketeer was IN NO WAY related to me. It was merely a coincidence that our names were similar.
The woman sentenced me to walk the yellow lines of the school parking lot for ten recesses in a row.
So anyway, here I am writing like a kid again. This is one of those rare moments in life when I’m truly feeling the same things I once felt as a boy.
Certainly, the keys don’t depress as easily as an Apple keyboard, and I spend more time being annoyed than anything.
I still get ticked off when the keys stick and the paper jams. And when the ink ribbon quits turning and I realize my last paragraphs are nothing but invisible braille, I begin to lose my religion.
How many things do I still own from the old days? The answer is: not many.
I wish I had more items from my past. I wish I had my late father’s green F-100 truck. I wish I could find the old Hank Williams records he gave me before he died.
I wish I had the wooden toy my mother won for me at the county fair, or the cap guns I used to play with.
I’d give anything to have my father’s old baseball glove—I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for losing it.
I wish I could remember my father’s face. The more I try to remember him, the fuzzier his features become.
But you ought to feel these keys. They bring back the world to me. Old Westerns, tales of the high seas, and an imaginary fourth musketeer who was raised as a fundamentalist evangelical.
With this thing, I have traveled the entire world, and swung from the masts of square-rigged ships.
Once, I typed four hundred recipes for the Baptist Women’s Bible Study Cookbook. They paid me a measly four bucks. I want you to get that: the Baptist women’s bible study could not even spring for a five-dollar bill.
I know I’m getting sentimental. Forgive me. But with this old machine, I once wrote love notes to the woman who would one day become my wife. I didn’t use the internet back then. I still wrote notes on paper.
With this typewriter, I typed term papers that got me through community college. I typed a few resumes for jobs I would never be considered for.
And with this thing, I wrote some of my first columns. Words that would change my life. And with it, I am writing you.
There are some things the internet will never replace. Like holding hands, kisses from a child, slow moving trains. And typewriters.
Joyce Harris - March 2, 2019 6:21 am
That’s so weird – I was just wishing I still had my old typewriter. Some things can’t ever be replaced. Thanks for taking me back in time. -Joyce
Steve Winfield - March 2, 2019 6:27 am
npwknaA! There! I said it. I love you buddy. In the early 90s I bought an “all in one” word processor. Big as a suitcase with a 6 inch yellow screen. I spent a year writing a 101 page cookbook. Until then I never realized that half my recipes used cream of mushroom soup. I should have offered it to Campbells.
Have a great day.
Karen - March 2, 2019 11:03 am
You are one of a kind. Truly. I am so glad you share your writing with us. Thank you.
Janet Salmon - March 2, 2019 11:25 am
I still have the typewriter I had in college in the 60s. Would not part with it even thought it doesn’t work any more.
Joretta parker - March 2, 2019 12:26 pm
Sean Im with you on this. I regret getting rid of a few things too including my old typewriter.
Robbie - March 2, 2019 1:05 pm
So many things I can relate to. I still have a love note typed from my husband from 1977 folded up in my wallet. Thanks for sharing.
Edna B. - March 2, 2019 1:33 pm
I guess we all regret getting rid of some of our old treasures. I love that you still have our old typewriter an that you still use it. I don’t really like change, so I’m still using Windows 7, and I will as long as my old laptop keeps breathing life for me. Keep on writing, I love it! You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.
June Batchelor - March 2, 2019 1:34 pm
I regret getting rid of my mother’s Singer sewing machine. It was a small black portable and my Dad taught me how to sew using it. Memories
Terri C Boykin - March 2, 2019 2:03 pm
Love you much Le Séan.
Jackie Logan - March 2, 2019 2:16 pm
Sean, I’d rather write than read! I can SO identify with your inner longing for meaningful “ things” of your past. Wish I could type, but never learned how( that class was only for those , mostly girls, who would be going to business school after graduation). But reading your thoughts for today, I’m more determined to begin copying my many poems and tributes to others, and move on to begin a book… about ME and MY LIFE and love of how it used to be?…
Your are so real. Bless you , Jackie Logan , Wake Forest , N. C.
Kathie Kerr - March 2, 2019 2:27 pm
I regret that i dont have the dead armadillo purse with rudy red eyes i got on a hippie trip to a border town in Mexico. But after a quarter of a lifetime writing and working on an electric typewriter, thank God for a PC.
C. Carpenter - March 30, 2019 2:25 pm
I think my oldest brother found your armadillo purse at a thrift store and bought it for me. It passed its days most happily, and last I remember, it was in the hatch of my old VW Rabbit. It was very cool, and I miss it as well.
Patricia Pope - March 2, 2019 2:58 pm
So thankful I met you, Sean! You’re so, so good at beginning my day with a smile. May yours be full of them!
Jon Dragonfly - March 2, 2019 3:28 pm
I still have and cherish my Dad’s old Royal typewriter. He bought it, used, in 1948 to write his masters’ thesis. Years ago, I wrote to the Royal company and they replied that it had been manufactured in the latter half of 1918. I used it for many years and wrote my masters’ thesis on it. It now sits in my garage drying out, but I can never get rid of it.
Anne P. - March 2, 2019 4:21 pm
Always love all you write Letters Sean!!
Linda Moon - March 2, 2019 4:59 pm
Long ago my Mother typed and folded bulletins for our Baptist church. Memories of her and those two old machines make me sentimental. I love going back in time, if just for a while, don’t you!?
Trisha - March 2, 2019 5:38 pm
Raise your hands…all of you who almost stopped reading to go Google “приклад” then thought “What the heck…it’s Sean” an just kept reading!?
Debbie Galladora - March 2, 2019 6:28 pm
Mary T - March 2, 2019 8:43 pm
I understand your nostalgia for your dad’s pickup. My husband still owns the ’59 Chevrolet pickup his dad bought new. I don’t think any amount of money could convince him to sell it….through many have tried.
Greg Simmons - March 3, 2019 1:06 am
Old things….I agree. I would give anything to have my dad’s old 1967 International pickup
Gale Smith - March 30, 2019 2:01 pm
Being a military brat and a military wife the first 50 years of my life, I parted with many things I wanted or needed so we would not be over the weight allowance when moving. We moved over 30 times…..I learned that stuff is just stuff. It can all be replaced. You take home with you where ever you go. Family is everything, including the 4-legged members. You make friends quickly, knowing you may not be there long. When you get to be 67, your Xmas card list includes half the states and several foreign countries. Your memories and the friends you made make your vagabond life worth it all. Stuff is just stuff….it can all be replaced.
Robert+ - March 30, 2019 7:24 pm
I hate reading fiction, but somehow the antics of Le Sean and his harem of desperate ladies would probably change that. I love your work, keep writing. It puts a smile on my face.