I want everybody to know that I'm the first guy on my block to own a brand-new IBM Electronic 75. That full-page advertisement for it in The Washington Post the other day hooked me.
The clincher was a paragraph about the machine's memory bank. "Creative Writing Made Easy," it said. "You can also create new documents by combining a series of phrases, sentences or paragraphs stored in the typewriter's memory.In fact, you can combine stored typing with original typing to create more personal -- and therefore, more effective -- new material."
Well, I want you to know that it does all that is claimed for it. I've been storing all sorts of things in its memory bank -- real cleaver phrases from bumper stickers, T-shirts and those ceramic ashtrays you buy from tourist shops in Europe; snippets from charity appeals and investment counselors' reports, quotations from great philosophers, bits of valuable information and all sorts of things like that. Then I add my original typing to create that more personal -- and therefore more effective -- material.
Not that there haven't been a few bugs. Like when I was testing the action, I wrote over and over again, "Now is the time for all good men to singe the ayatollah's beard," and it got into the memory bank and now crops up from time to time in what I write when I push the wrong button. And somehow the stored phrases, sentences and paragraphs tend to get mixed up with each other pretty often. But I'm assured that when the word vehicle (how's that for creative writing?) goes in for its 10,000-word checkup, those difficulties will be ironed out.
Just to show any doubters how personal and therefore more effective my IBM 75 Electronic creative writing is, I reproduce below an all-purpose letter I've worked up from original typing and stored material. "Dear :
"Yours of the 28th ult. recvd. and contents noted. We are delighted that all goes well with you and sorry that Uncle Ned died so horribly but then nothing in his life became him like the leaving it. Sorry too that the anopheles mosquito, anopheles punctipennis , has not yet been placed on the endangered species list and that the increasing prevalence of swatting it to death threatens not only the extinction of this delicate and beautiful one of God's creatures but also that of the parasitic malaria protozoans, so if you make your contributions today we can buy an IBM 75 Electronic typewriter which will retype this entire page -- error free. Dum spiro, spero .
"Alle Anfang ist schwer and although I don't agree with you and Nietzsche that when thou goest among women forget not the whip, I will defend to the death your right to say it because la hote est comme le poisson; apres trois jours is the time for all good men to singe the ayatollah's beard.
"The weather has been pretty rainy here and no one knows how many angels can dance on the head of a pin because all the pins have been used up trying to hold Jimmy Carter's energy policy together. Cogito, ergo sum . Yet if a man makes a better mousetrap than his neighbor, tho' he build his house in the woods, my grandson will break it and if you do not vote for Reagan, somebody else will.
"Although now is the winter of our discontent I burn my candle at both ends and its light travels at 186,000 miles a second because old hunters never die but just stay loaded.
"A weak economy may negatively impact corporate earnings and may provide vulnerability to the market but man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward. All this, mind you, during our summer trip to Little Rock where the lilies toil not, neither do they spin because of poor eating habits.
"This is the second third fourth time I have written you about the bill you keep sending me for $49.50 for your Handy-Dandy Boot Jack Can-Opener and Glanders Balm. In accordance with your Free Trial No Money Guarantee If Not Satisfied, I returned it to you within the specified 20 days because I have no boots to jack. Is there no human being at your end who can reply to me with a letter instead of another computer printout of that goddam bill, or does your entire office consist of only automatic IBM Electronic 75 typewriters? "sincerely, "Alfred Friendly"