Place Your Fingers On The Home Keys Homeboy

Herb’s blog, Herbdate 22122-693:

A re-written piece from Jan 14, 09 Herbdate 17876:

He sat staring at the blank screen the way the old-timers had stared at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. He couldn’t move. Paralyzed by depression and fear of rejection he minimized the word processing program and let his mouse hover over the button to play his favorite game. “What a mindless activity and monumental waste of time,” he thought, laughing at himself because he honestly didn’t know whether he meant the computer game or trying to be a writer. Why even bother? Why bother about any of it? He knew that was the depression and fear of rejection talking. Some guys had booze, others had gambling; he had writing.

He stared at the screen some more. The wallpaper changer automatically switched to an image of Yosemite Falls in winter. He had never been there, but thought it was a nice picture. He sighed. He had to fight this, but just didn’t have the energy. He knew that a doctor would prescribe some kind of drug for him but he didn’t like doctors and feared any drug that did anything to your brain chemistry, although he could not tell you why. He had seen people whose lives had been improved by them, but he just didn’t know. Besides, he couldn’t afford to go to the doctor for something so stupid. He had read about people who had all kinds of mental illnesses that had lived long before the drugs were invented and overcame their problems. Why couldn’t he think of any of their names right now?

He maximized the blank sheet again and put his hands on the row of home keys. “A-S-D-F” for the left hand, “J-K-L-;” for the right. Did they still call them home keys? It sounded like teenage slang to him, “Yo! Homeboy put his hands on the home keys, up-dawg.” “Up-dawg? What’s up-dawg?” “Not much, how about you?” He laughed at himself. He had learned the term in typing class back when you had to set tabs and margins and the teacher would measure how far you had indented. Now, most of that knowledge was worthless, except that he could “type” 35 words in a minute, which meant something to potential employers. He’d had a buddy that fixed typewriters, but that same buddy couldn’t fix computers. That was sad. Life was sad. He needed to buck up. Suck it up and drive on.

He wished he could afford to go on a destructive rampage like a real artist and take his laptop and throw it on the concrete and scream at it with the vitriolic vituperations it deserved. “That was an awesome alliteration,” he thought, “Vitriolic vituperations. Aren’t I the clever lad, then?” Throw the laptop to the ground with a satisfying tinkling of broken parts, then jump up and down on it until it was completely worthless, then run over the pieces with his car. He knew he would never do this since he would never get another one and wouldn’t be able to play his game. And…and he would never have a chance to be a writer. That door would be completely closed. Besides, it wasn’t the computer’s fault if he was stupid. He deserved the vitriol, not the inanimate object.

He minimized the window once more and popped in the CD that allowed you to play the game. He hated that idea. That you had to have the CD to play a game, as if the fact that you paid fifty or sixty bucks for the stupid thing wasn’t enough to keep you from giving it away. You either had to buy the CD or download it from a site that required an online authentication every time you played. Same difference. Oh well…that was the way of it. He could press the “play” button all day long but without that precious seventy-five cents worth of plastic, it was futile. He hesitated. He knew that if he ran the game it would go full screen and he would forget about writing completely. Was that what he really wanted? He had tried to quit many times. Just give up writing completely. It was like when he used to smoke cigarettes and people would tell him that it would be hard to quit but he really should. He would just tell them, “Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I’ve already quit three times this week alone.” And he would guffaw at his own joke while the other person rolled their eyes.

He put his face in his hands and shook his head. He wanted to cry. Why did every little decision in life have to be difficult? Everything was hard some days. He opened the folder that contained his writings. He re-read several pieces, stories and poems. He really, really liked some of them. A lot of the stuff was just stupid; garbage; pure drivel; but some was actually very good. He was genuinely proud of some of them. He didn’t care if anyone else in the world liked some of these pieces, he knew – knew – that they were good. He was a writer. He could do this. Like a drunk who has sworn off the stuff for good, but, well, just one more for the road won’t hurt; a gambler, just knowing in his heart of hearts that his feeling was right this time, one more bet and he’d have it made and then he could quit for good; he was a writer. Reaching once more with trembling hands, the drunk would try to fight the urges and finally give up, but he was a writer. A teller of stories. A spinner of yarns. A poet. He re-read the really good pieces again. He knew that he was trying to justify his actions the way many addicts did but he really wasn’t hurting anyone he kept telling himself and it wasn’t a crime. He would do what he had been told to do before, “Just start writing and keep on going. Don’t worry about editing it until after you’re done.” He maximized the writing program once more, put his hands on the home-row keys and began to type:

“He sat staring at the blank screen the way the old-timers had stared at a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter. He couldn’t move…”

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

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