Saying goodbye

“Oh my God,” he said as soon as he sat down.

I looked over with alarm. I’d hired a computer tech to fix what I thought were some minor problems. But this sounded serious. Perhaps even terminal.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I’ve never seen such a degraded keyboard,” he replied.

He was right. The y, u, I, h, k, n and m letters were totally worn off. They must be used in a lot of words. Not having them didn’t bother me. I rarely look at the keyboard when I type. But friends and family teased me about it whenever they came to visit and used my computer.

One day I remembered I had a bottle of Sheer Heaven in the bathroom cabinet. Working carefully, I used the white nail polish to paint thick, but legible, letters on my keyboard. Everyone thought that was pretty funny.

When I got a cheque for Christmas marked “new keyboard,” I knew it was time to move on. But it was hard to let go of the old one. I estimated that during the six years I’d had it, I’d written two books and 400 articles. That adds up to 435,000 words or so. No wonder some letters were worn off.

Like many people who sit in front of a computer all day, I have chronic back problems. So, after some research, I bought an ergonomic keyboard.

It was all flowing curves and – if I only knew how to use them – had enough bells and whistles on it that I could probably fly to the moon.

But you know what? For some reason the ergonomic keyboard made my back pain worse. After three weeks of adjusting my chair and tilting the keyboard this way and that trying to make it work, I returned it.

That’s right; I’m using the keyboard with the nail polish letters again. It feels comfortable but seems annoyingly noisy compared to its modern cousin.

A new keyboard is still in the works. In fact, I’ve got my eye on a sleek little black number that promises to be easy on the back and ultra quiet. All I have to do is say goodbye to the old keyboard. Again.

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4 Responses to Saying goodbye

  1. Marilyn Crosbie says:

    I have a different view on this topic. I found that the ergonomic keyboard (Microsoft) has helped me. It took me about three or four days to learn how to use it and I have since replaced the original a couple of times. Now that I am adjusted to using an ergo keyboard, I can’t use a regular one. I write off these expenses on my income tax returns since I am self-employed and type all day five days a week on computer. To each his/her own. As for my writing, well, too bad I am a “Jill of several trades, and it seems not yet a master of any.” I still hope to reach my various writing goals, however.

    • Paula says:

      Good to hear from you, Marilyn. I was surprised – and disappointed – that the ergonomic keyboard didn’t work for me. But like you say, to each his/her own.

      You mention goals and I think that’s really important. To dream, plan and strive for something adds richness to a person’s life. Often, working towards an objective is just as rewarding as achieving it. Like you, I still have various writing goals I’d like to accomplish.

  2. Paula says:

    That’s a good point. You can have the world’s fanciest keyboard and computer and all the latest programs but, if you don’t actually sit down and write, well, you aren’t writing. Today’s technoogy is wonderful. But it’s only a tool and like any tool, it’s worth is relative to how much it’s used.

  3. Rick James says:

    I think there’s another message here too; that getting down to serious writing doesn’t require all that much in the way of technology. It’s all just matter of sitting down and pounding it out; whether it’s wearing out the lead in a pencil or wearing off the letters on your keyboard.
    Interestingly, two editors who I submit material to, aren’t even bothering with trying to keep up with today’s digital age and, regardless, both are exceptional researchers, writers as well as editors. One still doesn’t have his own scanner and has to drive into town to scan photos in order to meet the deadline for the upcoming issue. The other, who happens to be editor of one of the better maritime history journals in North America, isn’t even computer literate and depends on his wife to handle all the emailed submissions of text and photos.

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