I’ve been wracking my brain here trying to remember a certain television commercial of some years ago. I can’t quite conjure it in totality. I’m pretty sure it was for a financial services company. The punch line, I recall, went like this, “We make money the old fashioned way.” I remember the voice of actor John Houseman of Paper Chase fame. The “old-fashioned” way. That’s not a phrase I hear very often any more. When we moved into the 21st century we may have left that expression behind.
I’ve slowly moved along with technology, in fact, I’ve come to really appreciate it. Way back in the day as a secretary I remember using carbon paper to make copies along with stencil and mimeograph machines. I was still in that profession when the first office computers came out and now I am so grateful for the ease it affords me and others as we perform the many tasks we do on a daily basis.
My most recent foray into technology was acquiring a smart phone. I’ve discovered that it is nothing more than a mini computer. That stated, I have been in possession of this phone since September and I am still learning all of its functions. It’s enough to make this rather savvy and bright person humbled, frustrated, and well, not so smart. One of the reasons I convinced myself that I should upgrade to such a device was because of its many organizational functions. I am nothing if not organized. Mine has a notepad. “Terrific!”, I thought. I don’t have to carry a pad of paper and a pen with me should I become inspired with a sermon idea or a much needed grocery item. I’ll just put it on my phone notepad! Fail. All I have done with that function is track my mileage for work.
Now, all that being said, as much as I appreciate technology, computers in particular, it occurred to me how little I actually use mine for my sermon writing. I do it the “old-fashioned” way. I use a steno pad, the kind I used to take dictation in shorthand when I was a secretary way back in the 20th century. Frankly, I’m surprised they still make them, although I have noticed they removed the brief forms chart on the back.
I remember the delight I felt the day I discovered them on a shelf in the local grocery store in the village where I live. I did a double take. Steno pads! I immediately purchased two of them. When I arrived home with my find, I was eager to share it with my family who were less than impressed. No matter. I had found a treasure – a fond remembrance of my past. I thought that perhaps they were some left over stock from the past they were trying to sell off and so I went back a few days later to purchase the two they had left. And, much more to my delight and surprise they keep reappearing. And I am stockpiling.
If the store proprietors or clerks think it is odd that the pastor of the U.C.C. church in the village is buying up steno pads like the apocalypse is coming, they haven’t let on. I haven’t detected any strange looks. And, if they’re gossiping about me, I haven’t heard it. Yet.
The point to all of this is that since my New Year’s goal is to become a better writer, the only way that works for me is to do it the old-fashioned way. My steno pads will be filled.
Perhaps one day these words will find their way to an electronic cyber place, but for now, they live in another dimension on pages that smell faintly of ink and of the space where they rest in my home office.
P. S. To Mrs. Evelyn Lovely, my favorite high school English teacher who I trust is enjoying her spot in heaven: I don’t use black ink and I still don’t write on the last line of the page.
(I wrote this yesterday not knowing I would create this blog today)