Thursday, February 8, 2007

All work and no play

makes Jack a dull boy.

This, of course, is the phrase -- repeated over and over -- that makes up the entirety of Jack's novel in The Shining.

My father used to make frequent (copious, even) use of a typewriter. He would often type the phrase "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" to test the ribbon, the platen settings, or whether the keys were oiled up right. Or just to warm up the fingers. Or probably sometimes just to get some words onto the blank page.

Of course, if you really want to test the keys, you will type "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Because it contains all 26 letters (I am told this is called a "pangram").

I wonder if these phrases have fallen into disuse along with the typewriter. I don't use a typewriter, and never really did, but sometimes I find myself typing these phrases for no apparent reason.


Gleemonex said...

Beans grow on means.

(Nice use of the Royal, btw.)

Hey, hhl, have you ever read "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler"? Kids' book, or young adult anyway -- brilliant, IMO, and a typewriter (and that warm-up phrase) figures into the narrative in a really neat way.

HHL said...

I remember the title, and I'm sure I read the book at one time, but the story escapes me. Thanks for the tip, I know where I can procure a well-used copy :)