I Don’t Know What to Think


You know, there are key-choppers and there are key-choppers.

The first kind is the Opportunist who chops the keys from antique typewriters and sells them willy-nilly on Ebay for jewelry making. The jewelry is a fad, and when the fad is tossed for some new project there may be, oh, five or six usable antique or vintage machines left in the world. These kind of key-choppers make me alternately sad and angry because there are some stunning, usable typewriters out there that don’t deserve a rude beheading. Besides, there are typewriter collectors and obsessors out here who feel gut-punched every time we see “Will cut off and send only the keys. Only $5 to ship.”

The second flavor of key-chopper is the one I can’t quite hate. These are the Artist Choppers. While they hack and hew and chop along with the best of the Opportunist Fad Choppers, the end product has depth and respect for the old machines. I still ache when considering the surgical procedures necessary to produce the art, but I do find it somehow a little less sadistic. A proper burial for a wrongful death.

There are those who ride the line by creating gorgeous, wearable art. But all typewriter key jewelry is not art. Sometimes an earring is just an earring.

Is it the difference between murder and euthanasia? Have I become an arts vs. crafts snob? Am I blinded by Beautiful Things? Would my typewriter morality be intact if machines were already functionally useless? I don’t know. I’m just not as angry with the Artist Choppers, even though the end result is the same – one less typewriter.

Jeremy E Mayer

Michael Demeng

Disclaimer: No typewriters were harmed or mutilated for this post.