Here I repost a sad story I first shared in 2010. I was composing posts when the keyboard went wonky. Twice. Risking inconvenience to readers, I put it online anyway. If you skip the wonky part, I’ll understand, but please read all of the un-wonky parts. There’s a book afterward.
To assist today’s readers, I start with an introduction and a couple of hints.
While I was writing, laptop keys stopped working–one at a time, in no particular order. No matter how hard or in which direction I tapped, they didn’t depress, and nothing appeared on the screen. I considered giving up, then decided to keep a-goin’. The next day, I called technical service, was told I could replace the keyboard myself, visited Radio Shack for tools, used them, nearly stripped a screw, called tech service, received a visit from a tech, got a quick fix.
An easily replaceable keyboard isn’t usually much to worry about, but in my keyboard’s case, there were extenuating circumstances, and I didn’t look forward to anyone poking around. I suspected something beneath the keyboard might be causing the malfunction. The tech might think so too. He might give me a look of reproof, even a mild reprimand.
I would have to stand there and take it, blushing all the while. My innate honesty would prevent me from saying my husband did it.
To learn why I’d have blushed, you’ll have to read to the end.
Hint #1 : A single e might mean tech. But it might not. An a might mean a, or not.
Hint #2: Under the keyboard–it wasn’t cat hair.
Wa do you do wen your keyboard malfunions?
Wen my spae bar sopped working, I aed online wi Dell e suppor. e e old me I would reeie a new keyboard in e mail. I was supposed o insall i.
“Me?” I said. “Insall a keyboard?”
e e said i would be a snap. If I needed elp, e would walk me roug i.
I go e keyboard and looked up e insruions, wi said I ad o unsrew e bak. I jus knew I would be eleroued.
Bu I boug a se of srewdriers a RadioSak and flipped e lapop oer, remoed e baery, and aaked e srews.
e srews wouldn’ budge. I exanged a srewdrier for anoer srewdrier. I used all six. None of em worked.
I wen online again o a wi Dell. e e lisened, en old me o ry again.
I oug abou e definiion aribued o Einsein: Insaniy is doing e same ing oer and oer and expeing a differen resul.
“I wouldn’ urn,” I old e e.
He said e would send a e ou o e ouse o insall e keyboard for me. (I’m no dummy. Wen I boug e lapop, I boug a e o go wi i.)
Anyway, e nex day a e ame. He go ou is se of 3500 srewdriers, remoed e srews, ook off e old keyboard, and insalled e new one. He said I didn’ ave e rig size srewdrier. en e asked wa else I needed.
“I know you don’ ae an order for is, bu ould you wa me insall is exra memory a Dell e said I’m ompenen o insall myself?” He said e’d o i for me. I oug a was ery swee.
Anyway, i’s appened again, exep is ime i’s more an e spaebar. I’s e , , , and keys.
I’e used anned air. So far all i’s done is make ings worse. Wen I began, only e key was ou.
How an I wrie wiou a keyboard?
So tomorrow I’ll chat with my Dell tech and–
Well, mercy me. I took a half-hour break and now all the keys are working again. I wonder what that was all about.
Nevertheless, I shall report the anomaly. Call me an alarmist, but I don’t want this to happen a third time. I might be preparing a manuscript for submission. I’m being proactive.
But still–I’m torn. If I do need a new keyboard, I want a tech to make a house call. I don’t have the proper screwdriver, I don’t know what size screwdriver to buy, and I don’t want to tamper with something that is still under warranty.
On the other hand, I have to consider the worst-case scenario: The tech takes out his screwdriver, loosens the screws, turns the laptop over, removes the keyboard, and sees lurking there beneath the metal and plastic plate the reason for my current technical distress: rumbs.
e same, e earae, e disgrae a being found guily of su a soleism. e prospe is oo illing o spell ou.
Bu for the sake of ar, I sall submi myself o e proud man’s onumely. omorrow I sall a wi Dell.
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters is a novel by Mark Dunn.
It’s “[a] hilarious and moving story of one girl’s fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere.”
“Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal phrase containing all the letters of the alphabet, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” (Amazon)
If I’d composed the passage above, I’d have written HILARIOUS in caps.
Image of keyboard by Simon from Pixabay
Image of screwdriver by Davie Bicker from Pixabay
Image of William David playing Bookworm by MKW