Monday, July 28, 2014

Chain Letter

Among the curious pieces of history found in the carrying case of my Commodore 650, was a chain letter, which my friend referred to as "old school spam." He was, of course, referring to internet spam, and not the canned ham loaf that is delicious with mustard and crackers.
The chain letter is the ancestor of "like and share" Facebook posts and e-mail forwards. I hate these online pests as much as everyone else, but a wave of nostalgia washed over me when I laid eyes on the chain letter.
It brought back an early memory of when I first learned what a chain letter was. My mother had received one involving the participants sending each other dish towels.
The one that I now possess involves sending someone a quarter and then, if everyone participates, you're supposed to receive a whole shit load of quarters. Apparently, the chain letter is the less dangerous cousin of the pyramid scheme.
I'm actually thinking about sending this one back into circulation, mostly because I think it will be fun to write letters to complete strangers. I only wish I could see the expressions of equal parts joy and horror on their faces when they release the chain letter is back from the dead.
What do you think? Should I soften the blow by including a brief explanation of how the chain letter came into my possession?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Old Dirty Jokes

The following document was tucked inside the carrying case of my newly acquired Commodore 650. At first, I thought it was an old business letter that may have historical significance. As I actually began to read it, hilarity ensued ...
The next artifact is a story involving the governor of Pennsylvania and a prostitute. I don't know when this was written or who the governor was at the time, but I think it's safe to say that this tale is timeless ...
      While on vacation, the governor of Pa. wanted a girl for the nite; He had 3 beautiful girls brought in, a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. To the blond he asked, "How much to stay with you for one night?" She replied $400.00! He then asked the brunette. She replied $200.00. The redhead came in and said, "Mr. Governor, if you can raise my skirt as high as you raised taxes, drop my pants as low as the wages, get your tool as hard as times are, and give me the screwing you're giving the people of Pa. ...., it won't cost you one damn cent ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yard Sale Treasures

My friend went on a yard sale expedition and said he'd keep an eye out for typewriters for me. I didn't imagine he'd find one, let alone two. They may not be the centerpiece of the collection, but they work.
I don't think I've ever seen a typewriter at a yard sale. Then again, I've only been collecting for less than a year, so I may have walked by hundreds and never took notice.
The Commodore Model 650 came with the original carrying case, which contained the original certificate of purchase from 1962. Also tucked inside were a chain letter, a typed joke about the governor of Pennsylvania and a prostitute, and a rather lengthy vulgar joke concerning a farmer with a run of bad luck.
The other typewriter is a Sharp Electric Intelliwriter. Typically, I'm not very interested in electric models. There is less of a connection between myself and the machinery. The machine is actually doing the typing, and I'm just telling the machine what to do. Also, I don't know much about repairing electrical components once they take a dump, but perhaps now I have a reason to learn. I wasn't going to turn down the Sharp. It is, after all, a piece of typewriter history and the price was right.
The Sharp actually introduced itself to me. After blowing some dust off, I noticed an instruction to press the code button for a demonstration. It roared to life as whatever primitive AI that was installed into it came out of its deep slumber and touted its own virtues.
"One man's trash is another man's treasure," may be a tired old adage but it is never more clearly illustrated than in the cases of typewriter enthusiasts and yard sale aficionados.
If you're looking for a working typewriter and don't want to pay much, check out the yard sales and flea markets before going to the antique shop. You probably won't find a beautiful gem to show off to company, but you may very well find and old warhorse that still serves its purpose. Antique dealers know that you're looking for something, so they can always charge a little more. But if you find a typewriter at a yard sale, you can bet that people are all but willing to pay you a few bucks just to take it off their hands.