image borrowed from bing
The last time somebody said,”I can write so much better
on a word processor,” I replied,”They used to say the
same thing about drugs.”--Roy Blount, Jr.
Hemingway always wrote everything in longhand,
as did I, & still do, because
there is something essential for me
in seeing those words for the first time
in my unique & personal scrawl.
I’ve always been a Bic-boy, writing in pen,
though these days it tends to be with
a 1mm black-lined rolling writer ballpoint,
having given up writing in pencil in Junior High,
even though several creative writing teachers
insisted on it half a decade ago--
when typewriters were still a staple tool;
the second great joy for me while writing
was to watch my words appearing so neatly
typed on a blank page.
For years I used an avocado green
Underwood portable typewriter, and
you had to pound those keys soundly
to get dark even results--which I regretted
when I graduated to an electric typewriter,
& after suffering with overtyping repeated
letters, one learned a softer touch.
My typing skills slowly improved as most
of my vocational career played out in offices,
at a steel desk, with a typewriter being
the primary note & communication device.
I remember the excitement I felt,
the naked joy, when I was finally issued
an IBM Selectric typewriter, complete
with an auto-correction function--
and then the actual anger I experienced
when the VA reclaimed all those beautiful
machines, & replaced them with the
early models of Apple computers.
Very few of us even had a clue about
operating computers, so we were forced
to endure several 8 hour training sessions
that covered “everything we needed to know”
about our new systems--but most of us
could not stay focused, could not process
more than 2 hours before we interfaced
with dreaded sensory overload, and immediately
after each official government class
we would have to resort to begging
the few computer geeks among us
to perform impromptu in services
with the rest of us;
then after what seemed ages, an eternity
of frustration & ignorance, we began
to possess marginal skills, & much like
trained chimpanzees, we could perform
certain functions by rote.
Add to this the active conflict
of owning an Mac computer at home
because our children had learned their
skills on the free Macs given to their schools,
and by then working on PC’s at the office,
it was like shifting between left-hand
& right-hand drive twice daily, plaguing
us with active cognitive dissonance.
It has been our children who have taught
us the skills to barely comprehend
the latest technology, & we have had to
accept our subservient role graciously.
So the bottom line becomes
it is sort of enlightening to realize
that older folks can continue to learn
new skills, and can peripherally participate
in the saccadic swirl, the overwhelming
constant introduction of new communication
devices, & even though we probably will not
camp out over night in a line to get one of them,
& we may never come up to par, we will putter
away at our own pace, expanding our sphere
of fellowship to every corner of the planet,
even though it is evident that we will only
utilize our own computers at the same
rate as we have habitually used our own
brain--at less than 5% of its capacity.
Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB
Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?