Here's something that my science teachers would probably hate to hear, but...
The most useful class I ever took in high school was....
I was 14 at the time, in grade 9.
And I was the only boy in the class.
Man, did my non-geek friends ever give me a hard time about that.
Which was kind of scary because it was a bit of slip-up that allowed them to peek in at the real me momentarily.
Because, truth be told, back then I used to lay my life out like a variegated set of dichotomous keys wherein I always kept the geek part of my life completely separate from the jock part by making an endless series of very carefully selected 'yes/no' choices pretty much every single day.
Which wasn't easy, let me tell you.
But I was pretty good at it.
So much so that, even in my late teens, most of the kids that I played lacrosse with had no idea that I was going to university and that, worse, I actually liked to spend hours on end in the library.
But I'll tell you about that, and how I finally learned to deal with it, another time...
Littler e. turned 14 a couple of weeks ago.
And sometime back in the New Year, I think, she got it in her head that she wanted a typewriter for her birthday.
I'm ashamed to say it but I was the skeptical one on this deal.
Not because e. doesn't write.
Because she does....In (real) notebooks, as well as on various assorted boxes, pads, and tablets that are strewn about our house.
It's just that I thought she would quickly tire of the manual nature of typing on paper with a thing that bangs a ribbon and has to have its carriage returned, with your actual hand, every 20 seconds or so.
Luckily, though, e.'s Mom, C., persevered.
And so one day in late February I noticed a suspicious-looking white van with an old guy fishing around in the back as I walked down the back alley on my way home from work in the gathering dusk.
It turned out it was Mr. Polson, he of the big typewriter store that used to be down on Broadway.
And while Mr. Polson may not have his shop anymore, he just can't quit.
Interestingly, as I'm pretty sure reader E.G. will soon confirm, most of his business these days is with lawyers - apparently because they still use big selectrics for large format legal documents.
Given all that, as you might have already suspected, Mr. Polson was pretty excited to show C. and me the difference between a carriage- and basket-based manual.
In the back alley....
Like he was showing us some kind of forbidden contraband that could get us in all kinds of trouble with pixel police if we weren't careful.
And I have to admit that it was pretty darned hard not to have Mr. P's enthusiasm rub off on you a little.
But e. didn't need any old guy nostalgia to get her going.
Because she has hardly stopped since she got the little Underwood portable shown in the image above, banging out all manner of notes, journal pages, and letters destined for friends, relatives or even just her bedroom floor.
And she is already faster than me despite the fact that she has never sweated through a bell-ringer with a class full of kids whose gender is not the same as hers.
Which is probably as it should be.
In case you missed it, littler e. (who is not so little anymore) is the younger sister of Bigger E who, as far as I know, only bangs away on an electrified pixel box these days when she's not doing.....This.
Now here's a funny thing....The kids in the lab can always tell when I'm in my office late, say, on a Sunday night...Not because of the lights or even the music (which I only blast outside of regular business hours - honest)...But rather because they can hear me banging away, hard, on my box all the way down the hall....Why?...Well, because I still treat the keyboard like the little blue Smith-Corona my Mom and Dad got me back when I was a teenager...