A Sticking Key

My frustration is reflected with those around me. (Monte Dutton)
My frustration is reflected with those around me. (Monte Dutton)

I’m grateful for this Sony laptop. It’s lasted longer than any of my previous writing apparati. The wear and tear of writing about distant events took its toll on a Dell, a Toshiba, and another brand whose name escapes me now. I’ve also been a writer – a sportswriter for most of that time – long enough to have memories of long-ago Radio Shake TRS80’s and 100’s, disks when they were really floppy, green screens and, distantly, typewriters.

There’s a sticky problem, no, a sticking problem. My “U” has become balky. My “C” has also grown a bit recalcitrant. I’ve pretended a can of air was a water gun and squirted it at the keyboard. I’ve googled the matter but lacked confidence in my ability to follow directions without worsening matters. Every day I think about buying another with money I don’t need to spend. So far, I’ve resisted the temptation, and my right index finger is neither dislocated, hyperextended, nor sprained … yet.

On Saturday night, I was covering a football game. It was at night. It was rain-delayed. In a vain attempt to “make deadline,” I wrote a running account of the game. I was pounding the keyboard so much that I worried that I was distracting my colleagues. This is the way I presently spell “quiet”:


Once I pounded the “U” so hard, the button flew off. It could put out an eye.

It’s slowing me down. I rationalize. Maybe this speed – my laptop is down a cylinder and can’t go as fast – is for the best. It makes me think more about writing while I pulverize the keys with the aforementioned right index finger, waiting for the occasional “U” to appear on my imaginary paper. Or, on the other hand, it’s causing my thoughts to outdistance my recording by so wide a margin that, by the time I catch up, some of the thoughts have vanished in ether.

More likely, it makes my writing slightly more ill-tempered. Some, I suspect, already noticed my capacity for cynicism. I just hate to waste all that typing speed first imparted upon me by Mrs. Savage in the ninth grade. I wonder if I would even have learned to “touch-type” had I known one day the world would be saturated in phones with keyboards so small that not even Jiminy Cricket could manage.

There’s your sequel for Pinocchio.


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