Thursday, April 16, 2015

How PCs Changed My Life

As is the case with many of you, PCs changed my life. 

Back in the day when I was in college, there was always someone around --- a friend, acquaintance, or someone's girlfriend --- who would be wont to say something like:

"Oh, I always wait before the night a term paper is due to start it.  Doesn't matter if it has to be 30 pages or more.  Drafts?  Nah, I can always type a paper straight out.  I usually get an A too." 

I would contrast this statement with my experience of writing a term paper, which required more drafts than you'd find in a Bavarian Beer hall during Oktoberfest. Banging away at my manual typewriter with invariably sticking keys, I'd produce a free-form first draft that unleashed half-baked ideas written in third grade language swirling from page to page like drunken sailors.

The second draft would assemble the more credible of the ideas into presentable but ungainly order and raise the level of writing to middle school remedial, and the third would laboriously finally give rise to hopefully coherent college-level content with overly flowery opening and closing plus prodigious padding where needed, relevant, and warranted. 

But that still wasn't all. Draft Three could never be submitted for your approval until graced with extensive handwritten adjustments, insertions, cross-outs, and arrows until it came to more closely resemble a Thursday night bowling team scorecard than a term paper. 

Done! Usually five minutes before due.

But then PCs were invented.  Though too late for my college experience and too many other experiences beyond then, writing at long last became enjoyable, relatively quick, and Oktoberfest-free.

And so it was at a college reunion a few years ago, I ran into one of those people who once so bedeviled me with their professions of term paper prowess.

"I remember you," I said. "You were George's roommate."

"Yes, I'm Jack."

"I remember you were always a very fast writer. Once I heard you say you could write a 30 page term paper in one night."

"Yes, I did have that skill."

"Well, Jack, now with PC's, I'm a really fast writer too.  I venture to say I'm probably ... um ... almost as fast as you are."

"Well, that may be true," said Jack, "if you can check your substantial holdings in the market, play Rise of Empires at the championship level, and write a detailed 45 page legal brief for the Supreme Court the night before it is due."

Yes, PCs did change my life. 

But damn it, not enough!



Glynn said...

In college, I wrote a paper overnight on the Gothic cathderal -- due the next day. A bottle of Tokay wine helped. Aced it.

Perry Block said...

Well, the wine must have made all the difference!

Russell said...

I was born a poor black orphan with four thumbs and two middle finger, both fixed in the fully extended position. It normally takes me at least two hours to write the word shit because I argue with myself about the correct sequence of the letters and if the correct spelling has one t or two. By the way, what the hell is a PC?

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Jack in college and I don't know Jack now - all puns intended.
In fact, I really don't want to know Jack.
But I can guess, though, as to what his last name is: in Yiddish, it's tuchas.
Hee haw.

Anonymous said...

Hey Perry,
If I've proven I'm not a robot before, why do I have to keep proving it?.
This repetitiveness feels very robotic.
Can you help?
When you respond, please verify which signs match the one that is a universal sign of frustration....

Perry Block said...

Amazing! I'm a poor black orphan too. (This shit we're typing on is a PC.)

Perry Block said...

"Jack Tuchas?" I've got to spend some time with that one. Thanks, Randy!

Perry Block said...

I do not want that feature and I don't how to get rid of it. You are always welcome, Randy, even if you are a robot. My technical staff is working on it ...

RozWarren said...

I AM a robot. So sue me.

Perry Block said...

I do not want that feature on my blog! People are negatively inclined enough to comment as it is. Anyway, folks, if anyone is reading this:

Don't miss OUR BODIES, OUR SHELVES: A COLLECTION OF LIBRARY HUMOR written by the great Roz Warren, the author of this comment. What an incredible coincidence! Remember when Clarence told George that Mary "was about to close up the library!" with horror in his voice? Well, here's why. Just click:

Russell said...

I knew we had to be related. I always wanted an older, Jewish brother.