Typewriter or Lathe

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(~3 minutes to read)

Are you a typewriter eater or a lathe eater?

Here’s another question. Are you a hater or a lover of articles that attempt to pigeon-hole you?

Whatever… read on.

Here in southern Alberta, Taber corn is much sought-after, for some reason. Whenever we see a sign for Taber corn, we flock like bees to a honeypot or flies to… well, you know what.

(And here I’ll pause to see if there are any pedants who want to point out that bees don’t flock, and neither do flies. Any takers? No? Good. I’ll continue.)

Mrs. H. and I sat down to eat supper the other day, a meal that included corn. And as we were eating, I discovered something new about the girl I married several millennia ago. She’s a typewriter. I’m a lathe, and typewriters look just weird!

Well of course you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the sequence in which a person eats corn.

I start at one end, and work round the circumference, then move along and repeat until I reach the other end, the way a woodworker would work a piece of wood in a lathe.

Mrs. H? She starts at one end and works her way along the axis to the other end, then rotates the cob, moves back to the end she started at and repeats the process.

Why haven’t I spotted this before? (Fortunately, when I pointed this observation out, she didn’t come out with the ‘you never notice anything!” line.)

Of course, in order for the analogy to work, a person needs to know how lathes and typewriters work. As far as I know, lathes still feature in school workshops, so that analogy holds good. But how many people under the age of 20 know how a typewriter works?

Typewriters—Office Dinosaurs

I learned at first hand a few weeks ago how neglected the humble typewriter is. We’d taken our great-nephew to a heritage ranch, and among the buildings was a Post Office decked out with some of the equipment of the depicted period. On a desk was an old cast iron Underwood typewriter. Our twelve-year-old GN was enthralled by this, and wanted to know how you used it. Having done a fair bit of my high school homework on such a monster, I was able to tell him a fair bit, and Mrs. H. was able to fill in some blanks.

Needless to say, he was horrified to learn that the backspace didn’t delete the mistype, so we explained about correction fluid (Tipp-ex®/Wite-out®) and correction tapes on more modern (perhaps “less ancient” would be a more appropriate term) typewriters.

Being a hoarder, I happen to own a “portable” version of aforementioned typewriter, and purely for giggles, I just tried typing something on it. It took me two attempts to type an eleven-word sentence, and when I returned to my computer to continue this article, I found myself pounding the keys as hard as I had been pounding the typewriter. Thank goodness I have an IBM “clicky” keyboard that can take the punishment!

Kelvin D. Hatch—Dinosaur?

Perhaps that’s what the “D” stands for in my nom de plume. After all, a person who prefers a robust, will-last-for-years-and-years-and-years IBM keyboard to a disposable piece of junk must be a throwback from 65 million years ago, right? “Clicky McBoard” has lasted me nearly eight years so far, and, touch wood, hasn’t shown any signs whatsoever of misbehaving.

BTW, If you want to sample the delights of these keyboards, check out http://clickykeyboards.com/ (no affiliation—I’m just a very happy customer!)

But typewriters are, for the most part, a thing of the past (although apparently, Woody Allen is a holdout), so they’re pretty much museum pieces, like rotary dial telephones, laundry mangles, washing dolly paddles and beer warmers (although, given the North American propensity for drinking beer that’s close to zero C, perhaps the latter item might enjoy a revival among older British ex-pats!)

Back to Corn-eating

I think we have corn with our supper again tonight. I think I’ll ask Mrs. H. for two cobs. I’ll eat one “her way” (the typewriter style), and experiment with the other one to see what other routes there from kernel-covered to naked. Who knows—I might discover an “a-maizing” new way! (That was corny.)

So how do you eat your corn? Typewriter or Lathe? Or in some other sequence? Or out of the can/tin?

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