John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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I Miss the Clack

I grew up on an IBM Selectric Typewriter. I loved writing on that thing. I loved the way when you sent your fingers flying over the keys it would go "clackety clackety clackety clackety clackety DING! bzzzzzzzzzzt-thunk" and then you were on a new line and ready to type away.

When personal computers started becoming common, there were a lot of us ex-typists floating around, and to cater to us keyboard manufacturers would make keys that clicked in a similar manner to typewriter keys. Not quite as satisfying as the loud, solid, desk-shaking CLACK of a typewriter, but close enough that it was an easy transition. And, as we were exposed to the wonders of word processors ("Cut and paste! Save and edit! TYPOGRAPHY!") it was a fair trade.

Then, sometime in the '90s, the clicking keyboards went away. :( Now, when you send your fingers flying over the keys it goes "mush mush mush mush mush mush mush mush mush mush mush mush mush" ad infinitum.

I was struck by this today while listening to "Holiday" by the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy. The percussion line of that song is a typewriter rather than a drum, you see, because the song is about a middle-class English business man on a holiday, typing letters home. But as I was listening to the "clackety clackety clackety" on the earphones and feeling the "mush mush mush mush mush" of the keyboard under my fingers, I came over all sad.

I miss the clack. :(

I'd never go back to a typewriter in a million years; word processing is way too useful and I'd go nuts trying to write without it. (I make lots of mistakes, and I change my mind constantly as I write.) But man oh man, I wish I could find a clicky keyboard.

-The Gneech
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