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.

4 Replies to “Saying goodbye”

  1. 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.

    1. 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. 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. 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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