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Monday 15 June 2020

Typewriter Bites Back

Then strip, lads, and to it, tho’ sharp be the weather,
And if by mischance you should happen to fall,
There are worse things in life than a tumble on heather,
And life is itself but a game at foot-ball.
- Sir Walter Scott, 1815
It wasn't a tumble on heather, but a full-blown face-first thump on to solid concrete. And no, I didn't bounce. The Adler Gabriele electric portable typewriter had got me back for turning it into spare parts. Now, for the next six weeks at least, I'll be as useless as it is.
Tidying up my typewriter workshop last Thursday afternoon led to three days in hospital. CAT scans initially showed a broken sternum, six cracked ribs and a busted left shoulder. That subsequently got narrowed down to just the sternum and some serious bruising. Still, I'm going to be suffering the consequences of the fall until August - no driving, no drinking (because of powerful pain-killing drugs), and no lifting.
From the moment I came to, surrounded by paramedics and firemen (called in to help lift the litter) and a distressed yet impressively calm wife, I’ve been feeling the painful effects of falling off a high workbench and landing chest first on a box of typewriter spare parts.
Yet the gruesome details - what caused me to fall, and what caused so much subsequent agony - eluded me for the first 24 hours of hospital treatment. I’d blacked out and lost those “key” moments. “What happened?” I kept asking an exasperated Harriet. As she patiently went through it, again and again, step by ghastly step, a hazy recollection of the sequence of events slowly came back to me, bit by grisly bit.
The Adler Gabriele electric portable is one of the most unreliable typewriters I’ve ever come across. But that’s what caused my unreliable memories of this horrid affair. I’d hit the spare parts full force and, like another Gabriel, had visions of angels.
Well, this particular Adler model might be a dreadful machine, but I at least now know the parts are made of some very solid metal. Damn those fine German engineers!
This was my second losing encounter with typewriters. Back on September 22, 2016, I cracked a couple of ribs when I tripped and fell on to two Smith-Corona Galaxie IIs. The Galaxies had been stripped of their masks while I was in the process of trying to unearth SCM
claims about a “jewelled”  escapement wheel, for an ETCetera magazine article.


Joe V said...

Sorry to hear this, Robert. Wishing you fast healing, and minimal discomfort.

Johnpyyc said...

Yes, recovery fast!


Terry Murray said...

Wow! And Ow! I hope you heal quickly and that your pain is kept at bay.

David Randall said...

Rest and get well soon Robert! All the best, David Randall, Seattle

Zack Self said...

Man I'm sorry that happened and am glad you are recovering well. Thank you for the good work. I often check your site for a good read.

Ted said...

Oh, lordy - that musta hurt! ):
Best wishes for a speedy recovery and better agility (:

Erik Bruchez said...

Sorry to hear this! Speedy recovery!

Nis said...

Rob, I've never submitted a comment to one of your posts -- I suppose that makes me a lurker. . . but as a collector of and tinkerer with typewriters for going on 40 years now, I have found you to be an invaluable, really unequalled resource on typewriters. I just wanted to say that I hope you realize what a great contribution you have made to this little corner of literary/industrial history -- that your body of work is much appreciated even if your actual body is hurting a bit at the moment. Never doubt that what you've accomplished, in terms of recording the history of these wonderful machines, was not worth all the effort. I will continue to check this blog, looking forward to the day when you announce that you're back in action at 70 words per minute. Again, Mr. Messenger: thank you, sir, for all you've done on behalf of the typosphere.

Nis Kildegaard
Edgartown, Massachusetts,USA

Bill M said...

Wow Robert! I had no idea typewriter work could be so dangerous! Sorry to hear of your injuries. I hope you heal quickly and recover full-strength. Take care and enjoy your rest.

HBlaine said...

Good grief! Just glad it wasn’t any worse! That’s a brutal fall. Sending best wishes for a speedy recovery from WV, USA.