Tom Hanks is a typewriter enthusiast. Hanks, the star of such film classics as Big, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Sleepless in Seattle and Apollo 13, wears his heart on his sleeve when expressing the simple joy found in the typed word.
In his Foreword to Anthony Casillo’s Typewriters: Iconic Machines from the Golden Age of Mechanical Writing, Hanks says sitting down with a typewriter is akin to an artist seated in front of a blank canvas, paintbrush in hand.
Here are Hanks’ 11 reason why you should use a typewriter:
1. Your penmanship is illegible. I mean, unreadable, so cocked-up and irregular that you use block printing and flowing script in the same five-letter word. The kind of handwriting that one of those legal experts would examine for a trial and say, “Oh, he’s guilty.”
2. You can’t afford or are just too thickheaded to figure out a computer.
3. Your religion forbids the use of machinery invented after 1867, when John Pratt came up with the Pterotype.
4. The Communists are back in power. Their technology sort of maxed with space rockets and typewriters, and at about the same time.
5. You want the assurance that your letter/note/receipt/speech /test or quiz/ school report will most likely be kept for a long time, perhaps forever. It’s a fact: no one chucks anything typewritten into the trash after just one reading. E-mails? I delete most before I see the electronic signature.
6. You take great pleasure in the tactile experience of typing – the sound, the physical quality of touch, the report and action of type-bell-return, the carriage, and the satisfaction of pulling a completed page out of the machine, raaappp!
7. If what you are writing is lengthy, the distraction of rolling another page into the carriage allows you to collect your thoughts.
8. You are an artist, equal to Picasso, and everything you type is a one-of-a-kind work. The combination of paper quality, the age of the ribbon, the minute quirks of your machine, the occasional misuse of the space bar, and the options of the martins and tabs all add up to make anything you type as varied and unique as the thoughts in your head and the ridges of your fingerprints. Everything you type is a snowflake all its own.
9. You own a typewriter. It has been serviced and works just fine. The ribbon is fresh. You keep the machine out on a table at the correct height, not locked away in a closet still in its case. You have next to it a small stack of stationery and maybe some envelopes. The typewriter is ready and easy to use any time of the day.
10. You really want to bother the other customers at the coffee place.
11. Typewriter = Chick Magnet.
This is a man President Obama described as “America’s dad” while awarding Hanks the Medal of Freedom, so we’re pretty sure Hanks knows what he’s talking about.