They Don’t Mak’em Like They Used To

How many times have you heard “Boy, they sure don’t mak’em like they used to.” ?  And I’ll have to say, I’m certainly glad they don’t.  Take for instance your average house–in the good ole days bricks were laid right on dirt with no foundation.  It makes for a nice Dr. Seuss look-alike dwelling but hardly better than the concrete foundations of today.  True, some of the craftsmanship in the ornate trim work has been lost, but I’ll trade that for a roof that’s not constructed from 2 x 4’s.

How about the one, “I sure would like to live back in the olden days.”  I don’t know…would I rather drink a bottle of liquor or have a shot of Novocaine to have that pesky tooth pulled? Four men holding me down and a forty percent blood alcohol level with little pain relief tells me that things are a lot better today than a hundred years ago…at least in the dental profession.

Oh!  I forgot one more thing…did you want to eat tonight?  Well, just in case you did, better clean up the ole rifle Tex.  Times a wastin’ and we’re all out of firewood…and don’t forget to draw some water from the crick.

Now on to the world of writing. The quill pen was commonly used by 700 A.D.  The first pens were made from bird feathers.  The major problem with these writing implements was their longevity.  After about a week the writer had to once again chase a bird down and unceremoniously jerk another feather from its wing.  This lead to a larger than normal population of flightless birds who attempted to evolve into penguins, but falling way short, died ostracized from their bird brethren and featherless reminders of man’s insatiable appetite to write with things that don’t last.

In 1795, Nicholas Conte developed the process used to make pencils.  Now at long last the world could write to their hearts content.  It soon came to the attention of these ecstatic writers of the word that mistakes were inevitable.  I want you to follow me close on this.    In 1844, Charles Goodyear patented the process to make erasers more commonplace.  This brings in a bit of thought provoking thought that would provoke the average thinker.

How did the human race tolerate and manage such a stressful situation with fifty years of mistakes and no foreseeable solution?  Answer:  The war of 1812.  On a sad note, the pencil sharpener was not patented until 1897.  No further information is available on this bleak period of history.

To sum up:  You can push that button and watch as the magical computer comes to life allowing you to start that great American novel you’ve always been meaning to write or start rubbing two sticks together and the next time you go out for dinner make sure you bag a duck, cause you’re gonna need something to write with.


Filed under On writing

2 responses to “They Don’t Mak’em Like They Used To

  1. Not quite sure I follow your math on the time between pencils and erasers, but I enjoyed your post anyways.

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