Richard RiouxPauline HartePatti RasmussenTim WhyteLeon Worden

A vexing adventure into cyberspace

Pauline Harte · August 19, 1997

It finally happened! The intense, fermenting hatred I have acquired for my Smith Corona PWP 50D Personal Word Processor finally drove me to the computer area on the other side of the room. I don't usually cross to that side of the room without a crucifix and several cloves of garlic, but I had to admit defeat.

My Smith Corona PWP 50D Personal Word Processor had won the war of Machine Over Man. Or Woman.

Actually, I had my PWP 50D Personal Word Processor set on "type." "Type" is a word I can understand. And after my husband told me what this mechanical genius could do, I decided there was no way this creepy entity was going to get a chance to prove it was smarter than this little typist. Ergo, I showed Robby the Robot who was running this show and knocked it down to "type."

I bought a dozen bottles of Bic Xtra Coverage White-Out and closed my ears to the nasty jibes and raucous snickering of insensitive family members and former friends. REAL typists laugh at the word-line eraser key!

I tried to make friends with Robby. But this demon-infested machine had declared war! The spell-check bell went off on correctly spelled words, and the caps-lock key capitalized words at random. Robby NEVER did this to anyone else.

And now for the grand finale. The spell-check bell started going off every time I entered my name at the top of my column. This machine, this inanimate object, was rejecting ME!

A couple of weeks ago on the hottest day of the century, I asked my husband to show me how to e-mail my column on the computer. We had been through this before. Which is why I ended up on the other side of the room with Robby the Robot and several bottles of my beloved Xtra Coverage White-Out.

But I thought it was time to give it another try. Unfortunately, I still have no hand-eye coordination and absolutely cannot get the hang of that stupid little control called "The Mouse." I could eliminate an entire paragraph with my Bic Xtra Coverage White-out in a fraction of the time it takes me to get rid of one word on this computer.

My husband stood behind me and offered a few "suggestions." I informed him very politely that his suggestions were greatly appreciated, albeit unasked for, and I didn't think I needed anyone sucking the essence out of my column like a dehydrated, blood-crazed VAMPIRE!

He left me alone to type. I called him in for help only a couple of times. Well, maybe three, but no more than five. Definitely not more than ten or twelve.

When I finally finished several hours later, he came in to show me how to send my column off into the Twilight Zone, which is what I consider e-mail. Now, he says I lost the column, I say he lost it. After a kazillion hours of typing, it was hasta la vista, baby! A few unpleasantries were exchanged in rapid succession.

I swear, I heard that 50D Personal Word Processor LAUGHING from the other side of the room! And tomorrow, when I am alone with it, I am going to pour a dozen bottles of Bic Xtra Coverage White-Out all over its ugly snout of a keyboard and then I am going to take a sledge hammer and pound it into an unidentifiable white, pulsating blob. Capitalize THAT!

My husband found my column. He sent it off himself. My lessons were over for the evening, I surmised.

We ended up friends again on that crazy, hot night. Life is too short to blame him forever for almost losing my column.

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