So I’ve been a little wicked because I’ve watched I don’t know how many episodes of Mad Men on Netflix, and it’s 5:00 am. Yea. In the morning. And I need to get up in a few hours. I know, I know, I just discovered it. Still in season 5, so no spoilers!
I think one of my big draws to this particular series is remembering so many things that you’d forgotten you’d forgotten! No, it’s not a typo, just a fact. The producers and set designers either did their homework or were there in the 60s and had great memories, though I can’t see anyone being old enough to remember all of this in such great detail actually working on the series, or even working at all!
But what prompted this particular post is a scene where the character, Peggy Olson (played by the inimitable Elizabeth Moss) is working a late night in the office and just punching away at the typewriter. And it hit. The sight, sounds and smell (yes, there was a hot motor smell!) of the IBM Selectric that she’s abusing. I was a typical teen-ager filled with angst, rebellion, drugs, and the need to set the world on fire with the Great American Novel. My long-suffering mother did moonlighting as a medical transcriptionist, so she had the most up to date equipment she could afford, which included the IBM Selectric ii. Ahhh, I’m sure some of you out there remember and are nodding your heads ever so slightly of the recollection. The font key ball that could be replaced so you could work with either Courier, Script, or Delegate, the ink tape cartridge that was such a breeze to replace. No messy ribbons for me as I sat there, night after night, trying to think of how to put on paper what I felt so eloquently in my heart, feeling the buzz of the motor under my finger tips, and when I was at it too long, smelling it heat up. When hitting an odd writer’s block, I would fiddle with the power rocker key (it’s there to the right if you’re unfamiliar with this piece of vintage stuff) by turning it off and on. That couldn’t have been good.
Now I’m sitting on a couch with a laptop in front of me, the keyboard being pounded on by hands accustomed to punching keys on, first) a manual typewriter; then, second) a slick electric typewriter (well, it was slick then). I am able to choose from thousands of fonts at a keystroke, access information on anything I would want to know at a moment’s notice, play games, keep in touch with friends and family, be current on the latest news and weather, and the list goes on.
Now we’re looking at something like this, and this is already 3 years old!
I used to say that humans would start having simple outpatient procedures to incorporate the computer with them wherever they are, but I’ve had a think since then. With technology always advancing, who would want to have last month’s widget melded on their body? Something to think about.
I’m not anti-technology or anti-advancement. I really can’t wait to see what’s next. How about you?