Modern Humorist - Mauve Gloves and Manual Typewriters
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Underwood Typewriter Corporation

Att.: Repair Dept

Dear Sirs:

I have been using your . . . typewriters . . . for several years in my career as novelist, essayist -- essayist! . . . and inventor of . . . the New Journalism. Free-lance spread’em zippy-zig vomiting of prose! massive well-reviewed tomes! unbelievable showoffy transcription of dialects and accents!

And I have -- who wouldn’t?? -- a complaint.

This letter -- this very letter! the one you hold in your loamy hands! -- was not typed on one of your typewriters. I dictated -- dictated! -- it to my assistant who transcribed it on a computer . . . a computer, my God! Why? My typewriter is . . . on the blink.

Should a typewriter keyboard . . . a perfectly good American keyboard! made by a perfectly good American company! . . . should this, this, this, purportedly well-designed keyboard . . . so well-thought-out! so two-scoops-of-vanilla-one-of-chocolate! so Hints-from-Heloise-and-Abelard! should it, I ask, wear out within a year -- one year fa Chrissake! -- of the purchase date?

And not the whole keyboard! Oh, no! That would be too . . . Low Rent Phat Farm Chic! By some incredibly concupiscent process, the only keys to wear out and melt into a grubby little sadsack mauvais garcon Coney Island wife-beater nub . . . were . . . the period or "ellipsis" key . . . the dash key . . . and the exclamation point key!

Egggghhhh, whaddaya? This thing a piece a shit or what?

I assure you that I give those keys the most normal . . . Suburban-Explorer . . . Marshmallow-Fluff . . . Saturday-Night-Live . . . usage . . . that can be imagined!

I would appreciate it if you repaired the said keys without charge. I would also like to point out that this is the sixth -- sixth! -- time that I’ve had exactly this problem with the same keys. I feel that the dot, dash, and exclamation mark keys should be brought to the attention of your Quality Control -- Quality Control! -- department.

Oh . . . one other thing. Don’t you think it’s time that you made some sort of provision for italic letters on your keyboard? It’s extremely aggravating not to have . . . use . . . of italics.

Sincerely yours,

Tom Wolfe

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