The Galaxy Twelve
Here’s something to make you feel old:
When was the last time you used a typewriter? Maybe not too long ago, but when was the last time you tried to buy a typewriter?! That’s what I did today. I searched long and hard to find a damned typewriter in San Antonio.
I don’t mean a new typewriter – Office Depot has those, but like hell I’m paying minimum 180.00 for one – but a used one. After two hours and four pawn shops, I found one. Actually, I found four of them in one place: Thrift America.
The process had a bit of humor to it. No-one knew where in hell I could find a typewriter but at the last place, the woman behind the counter told me, “No, we don’t have any here, but Thrift America has them (at this point I became aware that there is a pawn shop circuit, complete with inside information – they all know what the others have). The trick with typewriters is that you have to make sure that you can still get the ribbons for them so have Office Depot’s number ready, and look at the model number of the machine. Make sure the ribbon is available before you buy it.”
Yes, there is protocol to buying a used typewriter. This was at a place that had not one, but four CD duplication robots on a shelf, next to the first-generation CD Walkmans. Are you starting to understand just how rare used typewriters are?!
I made my way to Thrift America, and after adjusting myself to the huge open space of harsh fluorescent lighting and the smell of Old Closet, I found the “electronics” section. Sure enough, there they were: at least four used typewriters, of varying brands and styles. Some electric, some mechanical, all decrepit.
They were a motley bunch, but I finally found one with a little character. It was a 1960s vintage, two-tone blue Smith-Corona Galaxy Twelve (with Power Space function), complete with case, owner’s manual, and a well-used ribbon. As an added bonus, it was mechanical, so I didn’t have to worry about getting it back to the studio to plug it in, only to find myself in the midst of an electrical fire.
As I picked it up, the warning about the ribbons rang in my head, so I slyly “liberated” the ribbon from the adjacent unit and hid it under mine in it’s carrying case, just in case the one I had decided not to have any ink left.
At the counter, I paid fifteen bucks for my new treasure. I thought that was a little pricey, but hey, I needed it.
All this just to file Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration, which is required in triplicate, at a 12 pt. Courier font (typewriter). I could have filed electronically, but by the time I had thought about it, I decided that it would be fun to use a typewriter. I also could have hand-written it, but an epileptic speed freak writes better than I do.
It was worth the trouble. As an added bonus, I now have a sweet two-tone Galaxy Twelve to use as a prop in photos.