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This column was not typed with my brain
Steve Eaton's fourth-string wooden keyboard is a wooden one. - photo by Steve Eaton
I used to take it for granted that I could sit down and just type something on my computer. Recently, it has not been so easy.

The keyboard on my new laptop doesn't work. The backup keyboard I plug into my new laptop doesn't work either. The remote keyboard for my iPad also stopped working and the cool wooden backup, backup keyboard I have for it wasn't in the mood to do its job either.

If you've ever tried to type without a keyboard, it can be challenging. With an iPad, you can just poke at the screen one letter at a time, but it's faster if you try to just make the words appear on the screen with your mind. That requires a lot of focus. If it starts working and your mind wanders off in the afternoon, for example, suddenly you have some editing to do.

"So, as you see, Mr. Beedleman, the project is on schedule, and I can't help but wonder how Fred Flintstone ended up with such a good-looking wife."

Right now, for some strange, unknown reason, my fourth-string wooden keyboard is working. It is a miracle. It's a back to basics thing for me. I'm typing on an old wooden wireless keyboard just like the pioneers used to do.

It seems that in today's electronic world you have two choices when faced with faltering electronic devices. You can just buy new ones or you can try to teach yourself the mysterious, unnecessarily complicated language of the "basement code talkers." When my keyboard went out, I went online and Googled the matter and found many others with the same problem. I decided to just be patient and follow the directions offered by taking them one step at a time.

"My keyboard on my Satellite 35GGA1X0 just stopped working and I've tried rebooting and calibrating my defragments already but nothing works."

"Oh, you have a common and simple problem. Here are the steps for fixing it:

"1. Look in your registry and find out if your device manufacturer is chewing Chiclets or just restraining ram."

I haven't had a registry since I was married, and I'm not even sure where to find unchewed "Chiclets." When I see something like that, I just look for words I understand like "find" and "chewing" and see if I can just ignore the other directions. That never works. Finding lunchmeat and eating a sandwich seems foolish, but I try it anyway because I have no other choice, and I like to eat six times a day.

(Ever wonder why they don't just name a laptop something simple like the "Unbreakable Toshiba Laptop" but instead insist on putting a long string of random numbers and code letters after the name. It's because the "basement code talkers" tell the marketing people that they want it that way, and if the marketing people don't go along with it, their keyboards stop working. It's a power thing.)

I guess you could always go with a third option: ask a friend to help, but such friends are often a little sensitive about such requests because they get hit up by other people with unchewed restraining ram afflictions all the time and often they really are expected to work or live out of a basement. I used up my good grace with my key computer friend a few weeks ago when my new laptop decided it didn't believe in the Internet or Al Gore anymore. My good friend, who is amazing and perfect in every way, fixed the problem, and I was very grateful, but there's an unwritten rule that says I can't go back to that well for at least three years.

It's not fair. Fixing the United States of America and taking it back from the people that keep taking it back is a very complicated thing, and yet our presidential candidates are allowed to speak in very general terms about what needs to be done. And yet, as long as their solution involves giving us more money and taking back the country, we are cool with that.

No one gets to test the keyboard to see if the solution they are proposing really works until after we put the new person in the office. Then we all wonder why the words never appear on the screen.

I have no time for presidential politics because on rare moments like this when my old wooden keyboard suddenly comes to life, I just count my blessing and type like there is no tomorrow. The truth is it could be just temporary. There's no telling when my keyboard will suddenly stop working and I'll be left trying to complete this column with nothing but my keen intellect and my brain wa...
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