• The Bottom Line

    This little ditty from Modern Mechanix is confusing. I'm trying to remember EVER seeing a mirror taped to anyone's desk and I get nothing.

    I'm not making light of the real issue, however, which is quite serious. How DO you keep from running out of paper? How did we write all of those foot-noted papers in college without running out of room every single time?

    I don't remember. That was too long ago and I paid my roommate to type up my papers at $2 a page anyway. I was young. Typing papers was about layout perfection and margins and no white-out. Even though I bask in the glory of strikethroughs and fictional hyphenation strategies now, I remember when the whole world was ready to pound and pronounce upon the smallest mistake. Especially marginal mistakes. I didn't type much back then.

    I had an old boyfriend who, for a semester or two, channelled or copied or posed as Jack Kerouac. Or Sal Paradise. Or both. This was a common malady among my English major/poet boyfriends back then, but this one in particular liked to tape all of his pages together, one after the other, a la Kerouac, until he had a mountainous pile of over-inflated ego drivel. That's how he solved The Problem of the Bottom Margin - no margins at all.

    Later, Bob earned a Phd in Medieval Lit, then changed his name and became a rodeo announcer. Just thought I'd throw that in.

    I handle the paper problem by cheating a bit with this fabulous lined and numbered legal paper. I just roll it in behind a sheet of perfect 9 lb. onionskin, peer through it, and voila - stop typing when the number "32" rolls up. Easy.

    What's your trick?

    13 comments → The Bottom Line

    1. You are indeed the queen of the ephemeral finds!

      I had some method for keeping track of the number of lines typed (and thus, bottom margin remaining) while using the school's Selectrics, but darned if I can remember what it was.

      "I had an old boyfriend who, for a semester or two, channelled or copied or posed as Jack Kerouac."

      There were a lot of us, weren't there? It was sort of a reality check (though back then we called them Wake-Up Calls) when a friend of mine sent me a not-so-subtle message in the form of a Ziggy cartoon. As a parade of nearly identical bearded, headbanded, fringe-jacketed strolled by in the background, Ziggy is bemoaning, "I wish I could be a nonconformist like everyone else". And that was pretty much the end of my pseudo-hippie/pseudo-beatnik days.

      "this one in particular liked to tape all of his pages together, one after the other, a la Kerouac, until he had a mountainous pile of over-inflated ego drivel"

      He should have tried this instead.

    2. Monda,
      The little Corona Skyriters had an end of page indicator. One one edge of the platten was a metal sleeve with red and green index marks on it. If you started the paper on one of the lines the index gave a visual tab on when the end was near. Worked for 11" and 14" papers. I have instructions for that here somewhere.

    3. Even a little Skyriter didn't have to resort to smoke and mirrors. I'd love to see those instructions, Tony.

      Olivander, you old hippie. Someday I'm going to finish one of my unfinished novels and beg you to put "Ode to Kerouac" on the cover. I LOVE THAT.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.
    5. My Classic 12 also has an End-of-Page indicator on the platen knob, but I think it's way too difficult to read, especially when you're on a good typing riff.

      I just use the double-paper method. I have a stack of paper on which I've marked out the proper borders for various situations using a black Sharpie. I put this behind whatever I'm typing on, and can clearly see when the big, black bottom margin arrives.

      (yes, that was me that had to delete a post above. I like how this comment thingie is set up so that if you make an error, you have to - in essence - rip the whole sheet out, wad it up and throw it into the wastebasket, then start all over. which is what i did.)

    6. Before I feed the paper through, I stick a small pencil mark on the right-hand side about 1" from the bottom. When the mark comes up, I'm done with that page. You never see this in typecasts since I'm typing such a narrow strip anyway.

      For typing on 3x5 cards for my NaNo notes, I insert the cards upside down. When the red line shows up, I need to stop.

    7. The most practical method I've seen comes on Olympia SM machines. The paper support extends up and has numbers on that part. As the top of the page travels up the support it indicates how much paper remains at the bottom of the page. Simple yet brilliant. It does assume you are using standard 8.5 x 11 paper.

      BTW, the paper support 'flicks' up by pushing a button on the side of the machine. It reminds me of a switchblade shiv. Every time I use it I hear the "Rumble" theme from West Side Story!

      Never had to conform to beatnik/hippie standards. By the time I grew my beard at 19 (it cut down on make-up time for an opera I was in) the beats were gone. My attempts at hippie fashion made me look like a member of Hell's Angels, which defeated the peace and love image I was trying for. That was my last attempt at conformity.


    8. Just sent you an email with the Smith Corona way of handling this. I've got it on my Silent-Super but not on my Clipper.

    9. Duffy - you're right about the end of page indicator on the Classic 12. Too hard to read and I'm too distracted to look for it in time.

      mpclemens - not a bad idea. I especially like the notecard suggestion, so I forgive you all that html knowledge you have and I don't.

      Oh, Jeff. Peace and love and Hell's Angels to you, mister. And you've just given me ANOTHER reason to need an Olympia SM-anything.

      Teri! I got the email and immediately pulled out Agnes (Tower President) - there it is! Everything is just where it's supposed to be, so now I ahve to try it out. Thank you for sending that - Agnes came sans paperwork and this is VERY helpful!

    10. Great picture -- gotta love the laser lines connecting her line of sight to the mirror and thus to the bottom of the page!

      I like the count-down on my Olympia's switchblade paper support (it *does* pop up in a startling way, doesn't it, Jeff?), simple though it is. I typically still try to wrest one more line out of every page, so that the bottom line of most of my NaNoWriMo efforts were wobbly and too close or too far from the line above. As with my margins, I'm not very precise with my lines-per-page

      I note the little "end page" indicator on my new-to-me Classic 12, but I haven't yet figured out how to use it...

    11. Those laser lines from her eyes are my favorite part. Reminds me of those old ads for X-Ray Vision Glasses. So campy.

      You folks and your Olympias. Enough. I have to have one.

    12. I type with another sheet of paper underneath my typing paper. My typing paper is usually onionskin. (We still use them here in the Philippines, so all office supply stores, big and small carry them in many brands and colors -- yes, we have pink onionskin, we have cream-colored cockle-finish, we have bright white, etc.)

      Anyway, my "backing sheet" has the top, side, and bottom margins marked out with a black permanent marker, and I could see the margin lines through the onion skin. I use the same backing sheet margin dimensions all the time. This makes for a very neat-looking pile of typed onion skin pages!

    13. Maryanne! I may have to move to the Philipines just for the paper. The thought of all that gorgeous onionskin just sitting around waiting to be bought - by me.

      And the colors! I'm so envious.

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