Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let's Go to the Correction Tape

I’ve seen them hanging on store hooks for many years now. But somehow today, I was taken aback or, more aptly, taken back to simpler times. It’s the little things in life that mean so much. I’m truly heartened that liquid paper—correction fluid—still exists in some form in these fast changing and highly technological times we live in. It’s called “BIC Wite-Out” nowadays and on sale at Staples and your favorite office supplies retailer, too, I suppose.

Contemplating this product’s role in my life and times, I recalled that Michael Nesmith of The Monkees fame had some familial connection with its inventor. So, what is one to do in this modern age, but Google. In this instance: “Michael Nesmith Correction Fluid.” Yes, it was his mother and a lowly secretary, Beth Nesmith Graham, who invented what was originally called “Mistake Out.” Mother and son lived happily ever after—financially at least. And this explains, also, why Mike Nesmith had no interest in Monkees reunions and appearances at autograph signings and nerd-populated conventions.

Anyway, this modern day liquid paper sighting of mine had some serious legs. It returned me to Cardinal Spellman High School, thirty plus years ago, and a senior-year typing class. It’s where I learned to type on a manual typewriter. We physically had to push a handle to advance our papers to the next line. We used a product called "correction tape" then—not the fluid—to mask our many errors, which we thought was simultaneously clean, cool, and a major technological advance. From what I’ve recently gleaned, it was indeed that. It covered over our multiple typing miscues, yes, and it could not be used as an inhalant, which liquid paper—evidently—was by some wayward and experimenting youth in those days of yore.

Courtesy of computers and advanced printing capabilities, we can certainly turn out pristine-looking copy these days. The problem is that dummies and dumbness can look really sharp in the new millennium, without any liquid paper or correction tape, which presents a whole new set of problems for educators and entrepreneurs. You can’t judge a book by its cover…most especially in the here and now.

(Photo from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)

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