Jacob J. Gamet

Farewell, Betsy No. 4 By Jacob J. Gamet

I just buttoned up a 16-page legal brief tonight (on 4/8/18), and I typed from about 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Yes, it took me all day to type it!!! You can stop laughing now. Of all days it decided to flat out putt-putt on me, just when I needed my Betsy to come through.

Over the course of almost 15 years, I’m coming up on my 5th (I think?) electronic typewriter. I average one typewriter per every three years. Could you imagine going from a nice flat screen computer, a blazing fast CPU, DDR Ram, a “top of the line” video card, and all the rest of the technological bell and whistles to a word processor????! (Yikes!… I hope Betsy didn’t hear me.)

Here’s how my day went. I woke up and had my legal brief ready to be typed. Adhering to prison’s “10 to 10” no noise rule, I had Betsy out and ready to go at 10:01 a.m. She started out OK, missing her usual one to two letters every other line I type. Then she missed 3 letters, 6, and soon she was darn near missing 10 letters every line. Ugh! “Ugh!” was my word for the day. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!… and more Ugh!!

Because the prison is open bars, people were walking past my cell all day long saying, “You ain’t done yet?”, “You’re putting in work today, huh,” and my neighbor “Twitch” (who twitches from “terrets,” spelling?) kept poking fun at me. Then he wouldn’t quit talking until I told him he was causing me to lose focus as I was going back over typed lines and plug in untyped, missing letters.

When I’m frustrated, I’ve learned to poke fun at myself to keep things lighthearted. So I told Twitch that I feel like a snail moonwalking backwards on a treadmill. He laughed. I guess Betsy has become that old horse that tries to give you one last mile. Well, she definitely wasn’t giving me no victory lap today. It was more like a broke back camel lap.

I feel like I should prepare her eulogy, as I did years agho for Dana’s (my bff) Honda that she cried over when she had to let go. It was crashed. As expected, she loved the MaHonda eulogy I wrote for her. It turned her crocodile tears into chuckles.

But I’m trading Betsy No. 4 in for services unrendered. She’ not fulfilling her marriage vows to type without hardship till her death do us part. She’ll probably wind up in some landfill, in a mass grave site of discardables–worn shoes, broken toys, rusty and twisted metals. Farewell, Betsy. You may not be one in a million, but you definitely made my top four list.

I remember when Betsy first arrived, the property officer pulled her from her box. She was new, exciting, and desperate to have my hands all over her. Lol. Or rather, I was desperate to see how she operated and examine her curvaceous– ahem, I mean, electronic features (or the limits thereof). I was careful not to drop her as I carried over the threshold of my cell door. I gently set her on my upper bunk (where I type while standing up). It’s my makeshift “Vari-Desk.” Guys ask “Don’t you get tired?” I say I’m used to it.

Actually, it’s the way I’ve always been. Discomfort fades to the background when I’m zeroed on a task. When I’m focused, I lose track of people, days, time of day, appointments, etc. I just type and type, as I’m doing now on my Jpay electronic device (it is now 9:42 p.m. PST). Thank God for email, right. At least I’ll finish this and be able to send it out tonight. (Hint, hint, Betsy No. 4)

Back to typewriters: Betsy No. 5 should be arriving like a beautiful mail order bride in 2 – 3 weeks. The worst part for Betsy No. 4 is she will see her replacement on her way out the door, the upgraded model. Naturally, she’ll be jealous because Betsy No. 5 is a spendy $312 and has a 32k memory capacity that splits into two 16k banks. I’ve had an older version of her, but with 64k. She got a little too frisky and would leave two straight line scratch marks on the paper instead of the letter I pressed. Too kinky.

She and I had some creative fun. When I first met her, I spent the entire day learning everything about her. This helped me understand her flexibility limits. After investigating every feature, nook, and cranny, I took her for a test drive and we literally created art together. I used various letter and symbol characters and made pictures by spacing them in particular arrangements on paper. I made a lion, an elephant, a sword, a clock, an owl, and other characteristic renditions.

Guys loved our character art–or, rather, the “art of her characters”? Still, they accused me of being bored. My mind is always working, thinking, imagining, and somehow Betsy was thrown into my mental Text Mix and we happened to make true art.

I wonder: will Betsy No. 4 wind up as someone’s art? I sometimes watch HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip” episodes and they’re pretty crafty in putting together random antiques and pieces of things that might also be considered discardables in a different setting. I wish I knew of some creative person whom I could FedEx Betsy No. 4 to, someone who saved

Jacob Gamet
DOC #883302

Categories: Jacob J. Gamet

2 replies »

  1. Kre8tiv-1
    Betsy No. 4 will be going up for auction soon as a novelty item!! She was loyal as hell and served me well. And Betsy No. 5 (her replacement) is purring like a kitten. Picasso had his muses, and I had (and have) mine.


  2. I love this respect for Betsy. She’s less of a race horse and more of an old nag, but she’s been a faithful stead 🙂


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