6 Awesome Things I'm Not Cool Enough To Own

#3. Old-Fashioned Camera

I have to admit this next one doesn't apply to me. But I can relate to it. Have you noticed there seems to be an in ordinate number of quirky, attractive women who claim they're "photographers"? Like, they may or may not actually be a photographer. Good chance no one's paying them, but the thing that makes them a photographer is they have a nice, old-timey, non-digital camera, like this:

It takes this thing called ... "film"?

Why do they have this camera? Are their skills beyond their phone's cam? If yes, are they beyond a quality digital camera? Pretty sure these questions were neither asked nor answered. I'm sure there are professional photographers, many even, who still use traditional cameras and develop their own images, and that's fine, but I'm even more sure there are people out there (dudes too, I guess, but I seem to see it less) who are just getting off on carrying around their "vintage" cam on a strap as the world's most validating vintage necklace.

Who Can Get Away With It?

A photographer who has used one since before their were digital options, better still if they're an actual photographer.

#2. Smith Corona Typewriter

As a writer who's already shown an attraction to the items of the past, I guess you're not finding this one too surprising, but the desire for this typewriter never held much allure to me. Don't get me wrong. I've wanted to own them. I love the look of them, but I got it out of my system. As a kid, my parents let me tool around on some old typewriters we had in the basement. My grandfather's old typewriter was a nice one. It was a lot of fun to see the mallets strike the paper and beat ink out of the super old, dry ribbon, but my compositions looked like crappy ransom notes and it was hard as hell.

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Like Madonna in her prime: sexy as hell, but almost impossible to use without complications.

My brother has an electric typewriter. I needed to type up some more formal things, so I used it, and it sure was easier. By the time I was in high school word processors existed but weren't all that common, and I used my other brother's even more superior electric typewriter for my college applications. That machine had the Correcto-Type built right into the unit.

Then I started college with a word processor that looked like a toaster oven but was even better for typing. And by the end of college, I had a full-blown computer with a word-processing program and everything. The point is, trust me, I get it. I love everything about the look and style of the old typewriters but know they are inferior in every way. Whenever I saw idiosyncratic individuals using one for their college papers or, unfortunately, their novels, I knew it was indisputable proof of sheer pretension.

Who Can Get Away With It?

The ghost of Raymond Chandler.

#1. Pocket Watch on a Chain

At this point, you've probably noticed a theme here. Maybe not, because, frankly, it wasn't until I started writing that I saw it. Just about all these things are things I've seen as a child that were no longer in fashion as I reached adulthood. Indeed, some were no longer in fashion when I was a child. Or even 50 years before that. But this one is a classic.

Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
A device that seems to control time as much as tell it.

There is something almost magical about pocket watch on a chain. Whether it was the dad's watch in Mary Poppins or Burgess Meredith's watch that could stop time on The Twilight Zone, I loved the ritual of it. You remove it from your pocket, give it a flick, check it, close it, and return it to that tiny vest pocket. Much cooler than just looking at your wrist or phone.

And there, again. Notice another trend? A suit. A suit ties so much of this together. You can wear a fedora without a suit, but you'd look like some hipster douchebag. You can carry a flask without a suit pocket to slip it into, but then you're just opting to use a suit-shaped cup without the suit for some reason. And I guess you could carry a pocket watch on a chain without the suit, but then you'd just be a weirdo. How do I know? Because I did that one in college.

It wasn't a nice watch. In fact, I saw it for sale for, like, $20 at a Kmart, and my real watch had just broken. I clipped it to my jeans belt loop and kept it in my pocket and felt like a douche every single time I checked the time. And because it was a piece of crap, it fell apart in a month and no one ever needed to know more about it. But I can't lie to you. We've shared too much.

Who Can Get Away With It?

Your 80-year-old uncle from England who still toasts with "God save the queen!"


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