A new archvillain in Felicityland

Thursday January 15, 2004 @ 02:02 PM (UTC)

Up until today, if you had asked me what was the Archvillain that sporadically wreaks his wicked will upon the innocent idyll of my workaday world, I would have instantly – well, okay, after some quandary, it’s that idyllic – told you, the IBM Correcting Selectric II.

Perhaps the name is strange to you, you that toil not in the triplicate-form areas of life. The term “correcting” means ‘able to perform the action “delete”’ and the name “Selectric” is meant to imply pithily that the object in question is electric. Perhaps by now you have put it together — something that can do and be both these things, and yet it is worth noting and advertising that it is and does…it is indeed a typewriter. And not just any typewriter. It is a huge beast of a machine, probably over fifty pounds in weight. Its very presence on my first day at work, lurking at the left hand of my computer chair, filled me with a nameless dread. In using it, this dread was long justified. It is willful and demanding. I must hold down keys in exactly the right combination in order to erase a mistake, an art which long eluded me. After “correcting”, the next letter typed will neither appear in ink nor advance the paper, so that each corrected mistake may, if unheeded, sprout more mistakes, like a typographical hydra.

Today, however, I typed a couple of forms on the infernal machine. My fingers fumbled only a few times, and the correction process, while still baroque, went by painlessly. Flushed with victory and glad not to be in the embarassing situation of yelling “KHAAAAAAAAAN!” inexplicably at my workplace, I moved on to the next task, faxing something somewhere. I searched about for the fax cover sheet used at the Center, and discovered to my horror that it exists in WordPerfect, a strange limbo where things are not truly as they seem and formatting is treacherous and arcane.

My problems with the program may seem, to you, small. I changed some formatting, and tried, from habit, to repeat the action on the next selection with ctrl-Y, only to be informed that macro ctrlY was unknown. I finished and printed the document, only to find that, as I had a section of text selected, that section was printed alone on a white expanse, suspended at its proper location in an otherwise invisible sea of text. These are not perhaps the epic struggles with which my old and now forgiven foe IBM Correcting Selectric II once plagued my merry existence. However, oh great anguish and woe…these software foibles that beset me…I cannot blame Microsoft for them!



Go to Ryan’s House
Wath the movie Office Space
World will seem nicer

My work is very nice, not at all like that movie (which we own, too!) but having an archvillain spices things up.

I’m glad to hear it’s not quite that bad. I just thought the scene where the three hapless computer criminals beat the crap out of The Bastard Printer From Hell might lend you some vicarious relief. ;o)

Mwa ha, hee hee, yes. More relief at my last job, actually, where I very nearly abducted the Epson color in the dead of night to do that very thing.

I work in the Teacher Education department, and I have learned to understand our mysterious IBM typewriter. However, this week my boss lent me to the Admissions department since they are swamped – and they have a different typewriter down there. I was typing mailing labels when it got stuck and I couldn’t reset the left margin. So I called Helen over and she did exactly what I tried and it worked fine. This has happened at least once a day this week. If I have an archnemisis here, that typewriter is definitely it.

Yeah, I don’t know what I did to win mine over. Maybe it’s just lulling me into a false sense of security, or maybe it was just a Little Bad and has felt betrayed by its father’s bad parenting—or I could be thinking of Quicksilver and the X-Men. Ah well. Quicksilver that typewriter AIN’T.

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