Wear and Tear

I’m on a four-year laptop rotation at work (which isn’t nearly as racy as it sounds), and I just switched out my previous computer for a new one on Friday. Glancing at a colleague’s old computer, I couldn’t help noticing that mine had suffered a lot more wear and tear. There’s a good chance that this has something to do with how careless I can be with things in general, but I also wonder if it has something to do with how much time I spend working on my writing.

Computer, Birdseye View

Exhibit A: Birdseye view of my old computer.

Exhibit B: Left-hand side of the keyboard. Note how the metallic finish has worn off.

Exhibit C: Literally! Look at how worn down that C is. Most of the letters on my keyboard exhibit similar wear and tear.

Exhibit D: The right-hand side of my keyboard. Clearly I don't employ good posture when I type; my wrist lies heavily on the lower edge of the laptop. Also, note the wear on the track-pad button. Someone is spending way too much time with machines.

Exhibit E: Gimme an N! Seriously, I need a new one because the N on this keyboard is practically worn away.

Exhibit F: With the exception of the N, the period may be the most worn-down key on my keyboard. How many sentences did I type to make this happen?

I’m curious to hear from other writers out there. Has your keyboard suffered as much abuse as mine? Is the problem that I spend so much time in front of my computer screen, or am I just a slob? Of course, there’s a better than average chance that it’s a combination of both. Or maybe they just don’t make writing implements the way they used to.

13 thoughts on “Wear and Tear

  1. I use an extended keyboard attached to my laptop. Don’t really like the “full size” keyboards of laptops as much as the REALLY FULL SIZE keyboards I plug into my laptop. They really extend the life of a laptop, and are tougher, better built to withstand the pounding I subject my keyboard to. And they’re better to write with. ;-]

  2. My bird twice plucked the keys off of my laptop. He also filled my husband’s PC with feathers. I’m not sure if that’s “abuse” or wicked talent.

    They do sell keyboard shields you can type through—if you’re interested. 😉

    PS Since I dig your blog so much, I’ve tagged you in my latest post!

    • Great advice! I’ll have to look into a keyboard shield, as I’m already starting to see the initial signs of wear and tear on my new computer.

      And thanks for the tag!

  3. I think I have an unfair advantage in the laptop abuse game. Being in the military pretty much means extreme wear, tear and abuse to our gear. My current personal laptop has been half way around the world on a navy ship. I am still amazed that it works and isn’t totally destroyed. For me it is mostly a question of getting a good case for it. The number of times I have dropped my laptop… in hindsight I am very happy that I rarely skimp on what I carry the thing in. Pelican cases are great and worth the money.

    • Good point. I’ve always felt the same way about musical instruments. Actually, it’s interesting to think of the laptop as the writer’s instrument!

      • That is a great comparison. Writing is a work of art. And the tools by which we create that art should have importance similar to great musical instruments. I have heard of several people who have specific writing instuments they use and cherish. There are days where I sit back and ponder over the idea of getting an old fashoined typewriter and trying to write a novel with one of those instead of a computer. Granted I typically drop the idea after a few minutes after realizing the nightmare editing would be with that. Not to mention inputing the manuscript into a computer after the fact when you are done typing.

  4. Marc, you are no slob. You are a passionate writer. You should see my laptop. It has taken a beating over the years–crumbs, spilled coffee and everything else. It still works even though keys lost their letters and the key board lifts up from the corners :).

    • Thanks for the kind words! Glad to know I’m not the only one who’s put a computer through the ringer.

  5. That machine is an extension of you; it has become your hands and soul as you pour your soul into it when you write. Can you imagine yourself without it now?
    I am puzzled as to why my keyboard have the letters e, a, s, d, f, j, l, n, m faded or erased and none of the others and the symbols which I hardly use. I don’t like to see empty keys so I stuck sticky paper on them with the letters written in it.

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