Words before Word

It looked like a dirty piece of metal till I went closer. Once I realized what it was, I had to fight the urge to pick it up from the garbage and take it home. It was part of what was once a Remington typewriter.

I was horrified when the City Editor told me I was supposed to type out my report. First day at work as a very green reporter, I was hoping for some hand-holding. Maybe I could write it out, the boss could correct it and then I could tackle the little monster, pecking at one key at a time.

Before long, the monster was my pet. Of course, it was cruel. Press the key and what you just typed stayed, whether you had a change of heart or belated realization of the correct spelling. Many opted to push the carriage back and make liberal use of the small x to cross out errors and type afresh. The sub-editors never liked it, though.

I felt most elated the day I managed to submit a two-page report without a single correction. The Chief Sub walked out of his room with my report held aloft like some trophy, came to my desk and patted my back, making loud proclamations that put me on a pedestal, to be worshipped by older, wiser reporters. Given that reporters and subs were constantly at war, my personal equation with my colleagues took a long while to thaw.

Now, there is noting cruel about the word processor. I can change everything I want, whenever I want. Even make it look pretty. In fact, it doesn’t even expect me to organize my thinking before I start typing.



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