Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Old-world skillz"

Mike Brown at BrownStudies likes Mark Patinkin's piece on outdated skills and has written a fine post collecting several more. Go read it: Old-world skillz.

Some skills that have come to my mind (from my student and stock-clerk days):

Calculating how many lines to leave for a footnote (yes, with a manual typewriter).

Operating a mechanical cash register.

Operating an "imprinter," the gadget once used to process credit-card charges (it involved a bar pulled across a carbon-paper form).

comments: 4

Crayons said...

Hi Michael,
I've come to your blog via Elaine's. I like the feel of your blog, even though I've not read much of it yet. It feels intelligent and kind, with much attention to grammar and vocabulary.

I lit up when I read the sentence about footnotes. It seems just yesterday that I was sitting at a manual typewriter in Austin, trying to type the last pages of my thesis. Horrible and wonderful at the same time.

Michael Leddy said...

Welcome, C.! I've read and admired your illustrated narratives any number of times.

I remember typing (on an Olympia portable) as nerve-wracking but strangely rewarding. Like a video-game, finishing one level (page), then starting all over on the next one.

Elaine Fine said...

I don't know if I would actually remember how to thread a reel-to-reel tape player, even though I used to do it often. And I'm not sure where I would even find a reel-to-reel tape player to thread!

I never knew how to use a slide rule, but my father knew how to use one (and I imagine he still does).

Michael Leddy said...

Elaine, look at this article. Acc. to the Wikipedia article on reel-to-reel, there are still a few companies manufacturing tape.