When I first fell in love with writing as a nine-year-old in the early 1970s, my main tool of the trade, as it were, was an electric typewriter. At first, I was limited to using IBM Selectrics in school, but when I was 11, a neighbor of mine and her sorority sisters presented me with my own. (I don't remember the brand or model, but it was big, had a dark gray casing and weighed, or so it seemed, a ton.) And until I graduated from high school in 1983, I relied solely on typewriters to write everything but the shortest of notes.
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For all that, I was (and still am) not the best of typists. I never took typing classes in high school, so (like many writers and journalists) I'm essentially a hunt-and-peck person. As a result, before I made the evolutionary move from typewriters to personal computers in the mid-1980s, my essays, homework assignments and even term papers always needed corrections.
Although every once in a while I would have to resort to getting a skilled typist to redo important assignments so I wouldn't be penalized for "poor presentation of project," I did get my typing to be less messy and learned how to use correction fluid to "cover up" small typos. Most of the time, I use Liquid Paper, which has been around for over 50 years and, for reasons that will soon be obvious, is still my "go to" brand of choice.
Bic, maker of such widely-used office products as the four-color ballpoint pen and BrightLiner highlighting markers, knows that even in the Computer Age everyone still makes mistakes; using word processing programs such as Word Perfect or Microsoft Word reduces typos, but it doesn't totally eliminate them, not even when one uses a spell check option. Thus, correction fluid is always going to be needed, and Bic isn't going to sit still and let its rival Paper-Mate (owners of Liquid Paper) corner that lucrative market.
Unfortunately, Bic Extra Coverage Wite-Out Correction Fluid is a sub-standard knock-off of Liquid Paper. It probably has a similar formula (the label, unfortunately, doesn't list the components), but it tends to clump up on the paper no matter how carefully one applies it, dries at what most people would consider a snail's pace, and has a strong chemical odor that is, well, rather unpleasant.
Although I'm a fairly patient person and can tolerate the products slow rate of drying on the paper, the clumping is a big turn-off. I mean, the clumps of dried Wite-Out are so thick that one can't make any pen-and-ink corrections...and if I can't "write-in" what I intended to write in the first place, why bother using the "Wite-Out" at all?
The smell, too, is a turn-off. It's not as bad as, say, the aroma from a local landfill during a mid-summer heat wave or the scents from your average latrine in a war zone, but it's not the kind of "perfume" one wants to smell even for a brief microsecond. Maybe this is intentional, since one of the few helpful bits of information on the bottle label reads as follows: DO NOT SWALLOW OR INHALE. (It seems that there are individuals, mostly kids and teens, who will "sniff" Bic Wite-Out to get high. This, of course, is very dangerous, since it can result in brain damage or even death.)
In short, I'd rather stick to Liquid Paper to "cover up" typos that slip by spell checkers on Word or take my time reading over my drafts before printing them rather than have to use this messy, smelly knock-off.
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