Sunday, February 27, 2011
A True Royal Story
I walk into this second-hand store,
second-hand when they actually
mean one slight cut above junk,
and just past the chairs
with ripped and ruined upholstery
is this dust-covered relic of youth.
I taught myself to type when I was 18,
it was June, because I had to know how
for journalism classes in the fall so I bought
an electric typewriter and
“Teach Yourself How to Type,”
an early birthday present.
I was a lousy teacher but I dutifully
sat for hours trying not to look
at the keys but I gave up, you know,
and turned hunt and peck
into a speed race for fingers
and I cheated and looked at all the keys.
I walk into Journalism 51; am overwhelmed
by a sea of manual typewriters, all
proudly bearing the name of Royal,
reigning in spite of the growing electric rebellion
of IBM Selectrics, Remingtons, Olivers,
Olivettis, Underwoods, and Smith-Coronas.
Insert yellow copy paper, learn
how to operate the carriage return
and teach your fingers how
to pound on keys like it was
some stress contest and it was stress,
no question about that.
Style error: automatic F;
spelling error: automatic F;
grammar error: automatic F;
punctuation error: automatic F;
all the while beating and slamming
the keys, Royal in their stubbornness.
And then this idiot of a teacher gives
a deadline assignment and starts
singing opera and performing
jumping jacks and using his desk
like a set of drums and how to work
with all this deliberate, focused insanity?
I look at this dust-covered Royal relic and
I don’t feel a tender fondness, exactly, but
more like profound thankfulness
for correctible spools of paper white-out
and the electricity that removed the pounding
from my fingers, still aching. I don't buy it.
This poem is submitted for One Shot Sunday sponsored by One Stop Poetry. To see other poems prompted by the photo, please visit the site.
Photograph by JackAZ Photography. Used with permission for One Stop Poetry.