Typewriters and Monkeys

Some of us remember learning to type on a typewriter.  Not a keyboard but a mechanical typewriter.  Yeah, we’re old.  “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”  That’s the sentence we all learned to type; it contains each letter of the alphabet.

Typewriters took more effort than today’s modern keyboards; it actually took some pressure to push down on a key and make it throw up the arm to strike the paper — first striking the ribbon — to imprint the inked character onto the paper.  It was a big deal to be able to type over 150 words a minute.  Remember after reaching the end of line you had to throw the carriage back to the left to start another line of text.   A short song was written by Leroy Anderson in 1950 called “The Typewriter” wherein a typewriter is actually used for percussion sounds and the familiar “ding” at the end of the line (although the bell was added when needed).  Jerry Lewis also did a skit with it.

When electric typewriters came about people were amazed.  Now each key was no longer linked mechanically to the type-arm, but instead was an electrical connection that activated a motor that threw the arms up to make the character.  The ribbon was still there, but the motor allowed uniformity in the type– no more light and dark characters (well, until the ribbon ran dry).  But the main thing was it was supposed to allow for faster typing yet require less pressure on the keys thus reducing stress thus making way for more and faster productivity, etc.

There were big desk-top models as well as “portable” models of both electric and mechanical types.  There was an entire industry built around mechanical typewriters.  Not only manufacturing, but cleaning, repairing, re-inking ribbons, realigning type heads, replacing type heads, then replacing the motors and electrical maintenance along with the usual mechanical maintenance.

That industry is non-existent today.  With the availability of the Personal Computer came the dot-matrix printer (which still used a ribbon like the “old” typewriters), then the Laser printer and Inkjet printer and now even a 3-D printer that is affordable and available to the public.  We’ve come a long way, baby!

Back in the days of the typewriter, a bunch of educated people thought up and agreed on “The Infinite Monkey Theorem.”  They said if a typewriter was placed in front of a monkey (that lived forever– hey, it’s a theory) to peck and pound on (and the paper was infinitely placed in the platen), that monkey would eventually turn out the entire works of William Shakespeare.  Mathematicians have attempted to prove this theory and the possibility is infinitesimal.

Like completely disassembling a watch, putting it in a bag, and if shook long enough the watch will somehow go back together and be a working watch.  (The biggest hole in this theory is some parts might go together incorrectly, preventing the watch from ever “coming together” in working condition without more disassembly i.e. outside intervention.

It’s just not going to happen.  It’s a practice of existential futility.  Even if it did happen – and it won’t – what difference does it make?  By the time it did happen, no one would care!  It does not make one bit of difference in Human existence.

The things that make Human existence purposeful are not theory; they are not based on “what ifs” built on scientific experiments and predictions.   The meaningful events in Human existence are subjective; they result in feelings and emotions; they are the life-changing circumstances which are inevitable in Human Beings that occur momentarily and over time.  

Love, joy, anger, fear, disappointment, happiness, sorrow; such things are never absent  from the Human heart and the Human soul is not limited by scientific “facts.”

Whether or not you adhere to theories of watches, typewriters, and monkeys is not going to change your life in your lifetime.  What will change your life — everyone’s life — is how you determine your place in the Universe, and how you believe that Universe was created.  But the law of chaos (shaking a watch in a bag) and chance (a typing monkey) do not fit in with the structure and form of a Universe designed by a Creator, a Creator who is vastly superior yet infinitely wise in that design.

David said in his Psalm 19:  “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

With all the advancements of science and mathematics, we are still finding correlations between the created universe and science that are not, indeed, cannot be, coincidence.  A Master Architect designed the universe as we know it.  Parts of it are fading away.

Humans have been given the opportunity — the choice — to be a part that is NOT fading away, the part that is predicted, yet unseen, promised but unfulfilled.  We can stand around and shake the bag or listen to the typewriter, or we can turn to the Creator and live in the Promised Expectation of eternal forgiveness and redemption that is offered through Jesus Christ.

It’s our choice.  It’s your choice.

Today is the day to decide.