At one time “White Out” or “Liquid Paper” was essential to every office! You couldn’t get enough of the stuff. I miss the smell sometimes. For those too young to remember, in Olden Times we had to use typewriters instead of computers to compose thing s like college term papers. I, of course, also wrote scripts and short stories. Usually I would write out a rough draft by hand. This is where the long lost art of cursive writing came in handy. Then I would insert the sheet of typing paper and roll it into place to begin typing.


Typing this blog on a laptop, as I’m doing right now, is gentle and soft. The keys barely click as I press each letter. When I used my Smith Corona Electric State-of-the-Art Typewriter, each keystroke required some moxie. And a full-throated CLUNK-CLUNK-CLUNK would accompany my efforts. Kind of like the sound of shutting a car door on a 67 Mustang (BOOMP) versus a Kia Soul (TINK).


SmaithCorona_XD7500When you got the end of the line you had to stop and hit the return, sending the typeface ball back to the left side of the page. These miracle typewriters would often issue forth a friendly DING bell reminder that you have reached the end of the line. Typing this blog I can be completely ignorant of were the cursor is because, thankfully, the computer handles the rest.


Some people became expert typists and could handle voluminous amounts of pages chock full of words with nary a mistake, if any at all. Me, on the other hand, being blessed with fat fingers and sloppy hand-eye coordination, made typos all the time. Solutions to a misspelling included typing the entire page all over again, backspacing and placing layers of x’s over the word, or—miracles of miracles—you could roll the paper up a little bit and paint it out with Liquid Paper! Imagine a nail polish applicator. Well, that’s how you used this stuff! You painted out the offending word. Waited a few seconds for it to dry, even gently blowing on the page to speed up the process, and then rolled the paper back into position and retyped the word onto this soft white material now bonded to the paper. Ahh, yes. The smell of Liquid Paper! … I hated it with a passion!


I may seem like I’m waxing poetically about these Dark Ages of college terms papers, but really, they were so inconvenient compared to the luxury we have now! For Goodness Sakes, we even have “Auto-correct”! Misspellings dissipate immediately so that we never even have to bother to learn how to actually spell things like “receive” and “inundate”—we just slap away at the keys and let the computer figure it out. (And, hey, what could possibly go wrong there?)


mkpRiIy1nrHBz00-CNunROQThe Smith Corona eventually went at a yard sale for five bucks. But I still have my first typewriter: a 1919 Underwood. 1919 is the year, not the model number, by the way. I still have it. Now that baby required finger muscles! The carriage return was manual and it creaked loudly as it slid back. It’s a beautiful paperweight now.


Gone are the days of Liquid Paper and the mimeograph machine (who remembers volunteering to run copies for the teacher cuz that stuff smelled so intoxicatingly good?) but sometimes I get a little nostalgic for the days of yesteryear. Pre-auto-correct. Back when I really had to lurn from my misteaks.


I’m just saying…