Which led me to pondering other things that I used to use all the time that are no more, things like camera film, reel-to-reel tape, phonograph records and, to a certain extent, fountain pens.
And this, of course, got me to realizing once again that I'm acquainted with only two other people who know Gregg shorthand. It isn't even taught anymore. Neither is cursive writing, I understand, but that is a subject for another
For many years I made my living as a typist of dissertations for Ph.D. students at a big university. It was fascinating work; I learned intricate details of narrow subjects indeed, and took particular satisfaction in the setting up of the footnotes and bibliography. I used #20 bond paper, an electric typewriter, and changed my ribbon frequently. I could make an imperceptible erasure. I loved meeting the students and making their research work beautiful. Now word processing programs, I believe, have pretty much made that occupation obsolete.
Another job I held for a long time was medical transcriptionist. Doctors in hospitals would dictate their reports into casette tape recording machines, the transcription service/middle man would pick up the tapes, log them in, and deliver them to the homes of the transcriptionists. I'd have 24 hours to get my tapes transcribed and have the work ready for pick up. Again, I learned a lot of very peculiar, specialized terminology and information. Now casette tapes are very difficult to find, and voice-activated software produces the discharge summaries and operative reports. Medical transcriptionists are no more; they are being replaced by transcript editors who read the magically-produced reports and check for context errors.
It's an odd feeling, this becoming extinct. I find myself wondering what other commonplace items and experiences will become obsolete in my lifetime.
So it is a bit comforting to imagine that there is an area in Dalarna, Sarna, perhaps, or Rattvik, that is so rural and behind-the-times that someone like me would feel right at home. I'd see if I could still find my old IBM Selectric and wander into the local stationer's shop and most politely request a Färgband till skrivmaskin. And then I'd get to typing.