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.