Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Missing Key
Jennifer Flaten

While doing homework a few evenings ago, my daughter, in a fit of pique, stabbed the “L” key so hard it popped the key cap off the keyboard. She was in the middle of creating a Google Docs presentation for social studies. Apparently, she couldn’t get a slide to load right. So, she killed the keyboard. You don’t want to know how she reacts to algebra problems.

This is just the latest indignity suffered by our family laptop. To say its lived a rough life is an understatement, with three children using it, it’s a wonder that more pieces aren’t missing.

Its survived dropping, spilling, poking and the kids discovering it has a web cam. This is in addition to its general day-to-day wear and tear-you try staying on 24/7 and see how well you perform-. The consummate professional it is certainly not letting a simple thing like a missing key cap keep it from performing its duties.

If I could, I would recommend the computer for a medal of valor. I should, at the least, purchase a package of gold stars and affix one to the computer. If/when, it finally dies; I will need a moment of silence.

After she popped off the key cap, I did do a little research-by research I mean I Googled it-to see if I could fix it. The cheerful computer geek with the snazzy video promised me it was possible to fix it. The computer tech in the video made it look easy. A simple snap here, a little pop there and voila, you’ve fixed it.

Twenty, sweaty frustrating minutes later, the keyboard’s gaping hole is silently mocking me. Perhaps I need to watch the video again. Again and, nope, still not getting it, I think we will just leave it off for now.

Today, I realized that some kid, not one of mine, no some strange kid, broke into my house and used my computer, as my kids would like me to believe, has lost the key cap. Now, I can’t fix it even if I want too, unless I want to pay someone to do it and have you ever known me to want to pay anyone to do anything?

Thankfully, a missing key cap doesn‘t mean you can’t type the L, you still can. It just takes a little more work. As a touch typist, I think it feels a little weird to stab down and not hit a nice smooth key, instead I hit the little plastic nub, but who cares as long as I have an “L”.

I have to admit I didn’t realize how many words contained the letter L. I think after typing this I am going to have a bruise on my L finger. Also, it is causing me to type a little slower and make a few more mistakes than usual-that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The kids, of course, don’t like this at all. To them the missing L is reason to buy a new computer. As if. Even if I did buy a new computer, it would be for me, not them. They are the whole reason I can’t have anything nice. Why would I grant them access to new shiny computer?

At one time, this computer was shiny and new. Its hard drive wasn’t loaded with an assortment of selfies and animals dressed in people clothes photos. I remember a time when it ran fast and not slow as molasses due to some random virus caught while playing Adventure Time games on the Cartoon Network site.

If I get a new computer, I will guard it more fiercely than Smaug guards his gold. I will also buy a few replacement keys to have on hand, just in case.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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