A cursive curse

It was another typical, very early morning deal.

The bogeyman, commonly known as insomnia, had thrown the covers to one side and had pulled me by the ankles into the kitchen, where I landed upright in a chair, staring straight into the monitor of my laptop, which I had left some hours before as my eyelids drooped, clearly fatigued from a day of gazing into the crystal ball for future stories.

After the bogeyman boogied, I tried to remember what I had been working on, which, by itself, requires the memory available only to a supercomputer or a mouse, depending on your definition of data rates or cheese.

As I poked and prodded about the laptop it began to wail and lament, for it really, really wanted more memory, a faster processor and a blindingly fast connection to the Internet. It apparently had been comparing the Internet connection speed of South Korea and Japan vs. what is considered broadband here in the U.S. and realized that they were cruising around in formula one race cars while we swelled with pride bumping down the pothole laden road at one-tenth the speed in our dilapidated pick-ups loaded with chickens and goats atop a load that passed for a yard-sale on wheels.

The hard drive droned, the keyboard squeaked and the resolution on the monitor kept changing so fast that I had to wear three pairs of reading glasses. Blessed with good fortune, my nose is structurally capable of handling the load, a veritable grand zeppelin of the proboscis air force.

I kept nodding my head to keep things in focus when I noticed that my cursor was also throwing a fit. At first it disappeared completely, then, after I uttered some amazingly creative expletives, it peeked at me from the side of the of the monitor, seemingly afraid that I was going to rope it and drag it across a gaming computer's monitor at high speed, then leave it stranded in some discontinued shooter game's rusting landscape.

Well, the cursor was half-way right, for I broke out a pair of digital tweezers and grabbed that little arrow by the tail, shook him around for a few seconds and tossed him back into the monitor. Now understanding my resolve, he decided to be both visible and responsive, lest I revisit him.

Now that I could once again cut, paste and jump about the page, I continued writing what I had been working on: a story about pesky laptops.

Over the years I have become increasingly dependent on a QWERTY keyboard to make manifest the untold stories that float within range of my imagination. I am now so dependent upon the clicking keys that my cursive handwriting, for lack of use over the years, now resembles a slither of snakes or, if your prefer, a doctor's prescription. Only a pharmacist can read the later and, given my take on things, only about 80% of the time. My only recourse is to rely on a keyboard and a cursor to give me a clue as to where I am. Absent a cursor, I am cast adrift in a sea of impossibilities.

I have tried handwriting recognition at times and have discovered that it takes only a few scribbled words to bring the most advanced operating system to a total stop. It is like I am trying to rotate off the deck of an aircraft carrier in a skywriting plane, forgetting that my tail hook is still held fast by the arresting cable.

Voice recognition works somewhat better, though it seems that my voice quality changes dramatically over the course of a day. While I might at first see some crisp 12 point Times New Roman it takes little time before my speech is rendered as random web dings, then as garbled Sanskrit.

The pony in all this news is that I have found an effective way to keep the laptop humming without whining or complaint. I simply keep a browser open in the background that displays the top five best selling laptops. This alone, if not inspirational, seems to keep the components in line and the cursor quelled.

Lance was last spotted testing a bicycle helmet fitted with a mind reading coil to turn his thoughts into text. Fortunately he was wearing it when his system crashed. You may beam him a note to lance@journalist.com.

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