I had a video conference call with Mrs. Soto’s fourth-grade class this morning. I wore a tie for old times’ sake. Although I have always looked ridiculous in neckties.
I discussed the art of creative writing. I covered topics like essays, grammar, and how I learned to use a manual typewriter in Mister Edmund’s typing class back in 1807.
Eight-year-old Akin raised his hand and asked, “Wait. What’s a typewriter?”
I found myself smiling, loosening my necktie, because at this moment I felt about as old as the Giza Pyramids.
“You’ve never heard of a typewriter?” I asked the Future of America.
Most kids hadn’t.
I couldn’t believe this. Which got me thinking about all the other things Mrs. Soto’s kids probably never heard of. For instance, Garfunkel.
And what about Rand McNally maps? I’d like to know where those went. You can’t even buy them in gas stations anymore.
I believe maps are superior to GPS systems. Maps never recalculate, never screw up, there are no batteries, no connective errors, no robotic voices that sound like Jacques Cousteau on horse tranquilizers.
Sure with paper maps people often got lost in the wilderness, but only a small percentage of these people actually died.
So it was hard for the fourth-graders to believe that I still use an archaic device like a typewriter, but it’s true. And for anyone in Mrs. Soto’s class who is reading this column (for extra credit), I will tell you why.
For writers, the typewriter serves a sound professional purpose. And I’ll illustrate my point by telling you exactly how I wrote this column:
First, I sat down.
Next, I fired up my laptop, which is connected to the vastness of the internet.
I ate Fritos.
Then I cracked my knuckles. I started typing with greasy fingers.
Before I finished my first paragraph, I already had a problem because I knew I wanted to talk about…