Every so often I like to step away from the monitor, shove the keyboard tray back underneath the desk top, shut down the computer and printer, grab a three-hole notebook, find a trusty Parker ball-point black ink pen, and write for an extended period of time without auto-correcting spell checkers, grammatical underlines, back spaces, copy and paste functions, or any other active electronic or digital devices whatsoever.
Like right now.
This is when I rediscover just how far civilization has come; and how far my penmanship skills have degenerated since those days when I had a perpetual pencil callous on what I called my “writing finger”. As I browse my incomprehensible scrawling and try to decipher the squiggles and scratches contained in the sentences that immediately precede this one, I notice half-printed, half cursive characters — some slanting left, some right, sometimes above the line, sometimes below — and cross-outs that look creatively impressive but do nothing more than cover up misspelled words or attempts at correcting misspelled words.
I suspect that handwritten lexicon is fast becoming a forgotten discipline of the past, and will soon disappear in the same manner as postal letters to friends, math without a calculator, multiplication tables, beer can openers, high-beam low-beam foot switches, crank-open side window wing-vents on automobiles, telephone cords, rabbit ears, glass quarts of milk with cream on top, dodo birds, or telling time on real clocks that have hands that go round and round and round.
Glancing down at my scribbled rough draft of this post, I just noticed I still have a writing finger callous after all. It’s on the inside knuckle of my right pinky, caused by the constant abuse of a hyperactive mouse.