I’m madder than the shoe salesman working on commission at a nudist colony over the fact that my beloved Smith-Corona failed me and forced me to miss my first deadline in 70 years and now my editor insists I get a new-fangled computer to send him the gold I’ve delivered to him by courier pigeon for almost a century!
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher has his column in on time, or it’s on us, every week, and that it would take an act of God from keeping me from screechin’ the good screech, but that’s what happened last week, when the typewriter I’ve banged out these columns on for more than six decades went kaplooie and wouldn’t work no matter how loud I yelled at it.
Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Carmine, if you were so insistent on getting your column in on time, why didn’t you just write it out on paper, put it in an envelope, place a stamp on that envelope, and mail it second-day air to Downtown to make sure your editor gets it?”
Well, my answer is simple: semantics.
Who has the time to do all those things when it’s just as easy to fax it in half the time for a fraction of the cost!
So now my dumb editor — who truly does understand me, but, for some reason, hasn’t figured out how cheap I am — is demanding I head over to the Gateway 2000 store or something and buy a computer that will ensure I never miss another deadline.
But I’m calling shenanigans!
Sure, using a computer will make it easier for me to write, with all its fancy backspacing and arrow keys and instant zoom that allows me to see the characters right in front of my face. But that doesn’t mean I want to dig into the mattress under the floorboards in the attic and get the cash I’ll need to make his dream come true.
Because it isn’t my dream!
There’s no way I’m dropping a grand or two on a new machine that is a sad replacement for the one and only way to get my pertinent information out to the world — by using muscles to press lead against ribbon and paper and then making notes on it, and then doing it all over again, only better!
I remember the first day I took my Smith-Corona out of the box and knew right then and there that it would help me change the world. And it did just that!
I’ve slammed down on those keys so often you can barely read the letters anymore, but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I love to do best. Sure, I make mistakes every now and again — but that just ensures that my lame editor earns his paycheck!
Just the thought that I wouldn’t be able to make the beautiful music that is the typebars against platen had me screaming bloody murder at the thought. So I stood my ground. There was no way I was going shopping for a computer. In fact, I demanded my editor pay for a new typewriter!
Unfortunately, he refused, and I couldn’t find a typewriter for sale in the classifieds section or at Sears Roebuck, so I had to go to the CrApple Store at the Staten Island Mall and was forced to look at something called a “CrapBook” that looked something like a typewriter but had no space to put in the paper.
The genius there showed me how I could type away to my heart’s content, and even look stuff up without having to go into the bedroom and dig out the Funk and Wagnalls. He even showed me how to mail the story I just wrote to my editor without having to lick a stamp, so I was generally impressed.
But then he told me the price, and that’s when I almost had a conniption. So I asked him if his store was going to close anytime soon, and he told me tonight. And I said forever? And he said, no, we’re a giant corporation with gobs and gobs of liquid cash, so we should be around for a long time to come.
So I said I’d think about it and be back next week.
And the week after that.
And the week after that.
And the week after that!
In fact, I found a new place to write my columns every week, with a personal assistant to answer any questions if I have any.
No body messes with the Screecher, the Screecher does the messing!
Screech at you next week!