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Monday, June 23, 2008

Keyboard Quandary

There are days when everything in my life zips along like waxed skis on new snow. Then there are the days I search aimlessley for my gifts and talents like a doggie dumpster-diving for a lost ham bone.

“Accounts Payable?”
“Trial Balance?”
“Bank Reconciliation?”

None of these terms were on my final exams in English Poets or American Contemporary Literature when I graduated from college. I really didn’t see the use to indulge in them now. Except I was deeply interested in getting paid.

I attended a small Southern university and graduated happily with a degree in English and a cunning little sticker on the corner of my diploma that represented a prestigious honor society whose admiration I welcomed, but whose meetings I never attended. These accomplishments, along with the fact that I knew somebody that knew somebody, and that God mixes miracles and humor like Michaelangelo mixes paints, got me a job as secretary-in-charge-of-everything at a local church. Excited by the opportunity to serve as editor-in-chief (a colorful term meaning entire staff) of the church newsletter and to support my grocery addiction, I accepted the job offer without further exploring the job description.

This zeal for employment accounted for my present distress. Seated at a one-horse computer, I desperately searched my remaining little gray cells for some clue that would translate the foreign language my instructor was speaking into something easier to understand, like Gullah or Swahili.

Motivated by greed laced with liberal splashes of panic and terror, my hand went from adding machine to keyboard as I computed the totals of the numbers he read out to me and then entered them into the database. Back and forth went fingers more accustomed to creating exhilirating expository essays concerning Yoknapatawpha County. Adding machine to keyboard. Keyboard to adding machine. I indulged in the prayer of the selfish. “Please God, at least don’t let me look stupid.”

Suddenly, in a turn of events that provided definitive proof of instantaneous answer to prayer, the computer malfunctioned. None of the numbers I typed showed on the computer screen. I pounded on the keypad. The computer had rebelled! I was free from electronic oppression!

“The computer won’t take this information.” I turned in the chair to see what miracle my mentor would supply. “It won’t accept the numbers.”

“I think,” he said slowly, moving my hand from adding machine to computer, “it will work out better if you’ll use the computer’s keyboard.”

I learned my lesson. Be careful what you ask for. God is the ultimate practical joker.

1 comment:

the Bag Lady said...

Oh, no! Your job entails a knowledge of the dreaded math?! Eeeuuww....