Monday, March 29, 2010

The Masochism Tango, part deux

When I was much younger and lived in a house with nothing more than a DOS word processor safe guarded in my parents’ bedroom, I used to scribble everything long hand. I filled notebooks upon notebooks with my lefty scrawl, and I was proud of my efforts, but in my handwriting I could fill a sixty page notebook with five chapters of writing. Granted once typed out and edited a bit, this produced about maybe twenty pages, but it sure felt like I was writing novel length stories in those notebooks. Hell twenty typed pages still felt novel length when you are 12 years old. I was just rearing up in my ambitions too. Still it was a relief when my family acquired its first family computer, which I would spend hours on, or until dad kicked me off, typing away. It was one of those old school word processor types, which printed everything in hard to read gray scale, on double perforated paper, but it was a step up from the ancient electric typewriter which refused to type e, g, or c. I never knew how many words needed the letter e until I didn’t have one.

Back to the moral of the story, I used to write out everything by hand, in fact used to write instead of paying attention to the lesson in class. But since they thought I was taking notes it is amazing what you can get away with. I was a decent student, really good at essays, so they never clued in. A side effect of all this writing was a remarkably noticeable indent in the middle finger of my left hand. There was an actual pencil shaped groove from the death grip I kept on my writing utensil. It was also usually the color of pencil lead. As time went on, and my access to computers became blessedly more commonplace, the groove slowly began to fade. In college, even if my computer of the moment was having a persnickety moment, I had access to computer labs all over campus.

So here I am nearly a decade since my finger groove had begun to smooth itself out. It’s amazing how fast that groove reforms when you have no choice but to write everything out by hand. I definitely have a new respect for computers after not having much access at all to one for just a few weeks. I think I actually did a celebratory dance when we bought the lappy. But sometimes I still find myself, tracing the familiar pencil gray indent on my middle finger with fond memories.

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