Keyboard Kalamities

Everyone has an indispensable tool they need to work. In a bank, it’s a calculator. In an operating room, it’s a scalpel. On my desk, as a writer, it’s the keyboard.

I am having keyboard issues. When I retire, I will tell people, “I just couldn’t deal with the keyboard anymore.”It will be kinder than saying, “I just couldn’t deal with the clients anymore.”

Why am I having keyboard issues? Every so often, I’ll be typing along just fine, and one of the letters will stop working. Try writing about coputer anageent and onitoring issues without the m. I’m now on my second keyboard this year; my fourth with this computer alone.

When this happens, I’ll unplug the keyboard, turn it over, pull out my tiniest screwdriver and unscrew the back. Then, with my can of compressed air and a toothpick, I’ll try to clean it all out. What comes out from underneath the keys? What a surprise: twirls of cat hair. Sometimes I’m successful in fixing the problem. Sometimes I’m not. If I were still using the old keyboard, that would read: soeties I’ not. Being unsuccessful with the most recent cleaning, I was forced to find an m that had already been typed in an old document, copy it, and then paste it everywhere it should have been.

Off I go for a new keyboard. The problem is that every time I get a new keyboard, I have to get used to it all over again. I usually have no problem with the keys – heck, I learned typing the summer after seventh grade, and it’s served me well through years of English papers, temp work, and journalism. But on this new keyboard, it seems like everything is just a tad closer together – everything from the directional arrows on the right side to the caps lock on the left side.

At the same time, my fingers seem to be getting fatter. Fat fingers are already a universally acknowledged problem when it comes to generating typographical errors – but excuse me, that’s on tiny smartphone keyboards, not the full-sized one I have. Plus, I’m not used to the feel yet, and I find myself constantly typing a 3 when I really want a crosshatch and I’m absolutely positive I’ve pressed the shift key properly. This makes me cranky.

I do have a trick of the trade. I use Microsoft Word’s AutoCorrect feature to fix words that I misspell or mistype or even just type frequently. Did you know that the word people mistype most frequently is their name? So now in the AutoCorrect table, I have Baldiwn, which automatically corrects to Baldwin (and so too does auotmatically correct itself).

For words I type frequently, I’ll type just the first few letters and then let AutoCorrect do the rest. This works fine, except for words like company, because so many other words begin with com, like comparison and compile; or technological, when I really want to type technical or technology. Like everything else with computers, it’s an imperfect system.

I’m sure I’ll figure out this new keyboard, as I have figured out all the others in the past. I have to – my fingers aren’t getting any thinner. The new keyboard forces me to be just a tad more careful when it comes to proofreading, which is something I should be doing anyway. Maybe I should slow down and type more precisely. Or maybe I should work less and play with the cat more often.


About middleagecranky

The Middle-Age Cranky blog is written by baby boomer Howard Baldwin, who finds the world, while occasionally wondrous, increasingly aggravating.
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3 Responses to Keyboard Kalamities

  1. Tom says:

    I think you’re on to something: stop and smell the litter box more often, and your day at work go much more according to plan! I’m going to implement the new program right now….

  2. gingerR says:

    I’d been having trouble with my passwords, which the bureaucratic powers that be had decreed contain a capital letter and a special character, both requring the shift key.

    I was always rejected and having to type it over again. I’d switched keyboards out once and was concinvced my new keyboard was also defective. At practice session for an important presentation a co-worker mentioned that you need to hold the shift key an extra second or two because the network doesn’t catch it reliably.

    Suddenly my keyboard functions again. Who would have thought it…

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