HEADFINGER: THE BASIS
Do you ever marvel at the times we live in? I do - all the time. The
IBM Correcting Selectric typewriter was a great boon to me when it was
introduced because it allowed me to correct my own typing errors. That
in turn allowed me to communicate more freely via the written word
because I didn't have to be as careful about which keys I pressed. I
was able to do most of my college homework by myself and I completed my
thesis in a timely manner (the day before it was due).
In 20 years the IBM Correcting Selectric typewriter is a thing of the
past, almost ready for the museums we build to celebrate our antiquated
leaps in ingenuity. I'll never use correcting tape again because I use
a computer. With one or a few keystrokes I can erase or change a
character, word, sentence, paragraph, page, or entire document. Oops!
Now is not the time to verify this capability.
endures. During my college days and the years I have worked at
Exxon (now ExxonMobil), it has undergone numerous refinements. But the
functions are still the same. I type on a computer rather than a
typewriter. I got good enough to actually draw on my typewriter, but
that task is much simpler now. I listen to CD's instead of records and
tapes. I still like to read when I get time, watch basketball on TV,
sort through bills to pay (NOT), use the pointer to prop my head up for
a nap, etc. My Headfinger is an integral part of all of this and more.
Though the functions of my Headfinger are the same, some tasks are new.
I take more responsibility for myself and more responsibility around
the house by paying virtually all bills by computer, doing the income
tax, reconciling checkbooks, buying and selling investments, and
emailing many friends and relatives (and some service people). As I
become less able to care for myself due to a variety of factors
(increased spasticity, less strength, old injuries, etc.) and Marilyn
has to help out more physically, the ability to do these things becomes
very important in my marriage and in my feeling of self-worth.
As you can see, the computer is my most important tool next to my
Headfinger. Without that silicon magic, I may not have had a good job,
which would have meant I wouldn't have moved away from home, which
would have meant I wouldn't have my own home, which would have meant I
wouldn't have gotten involved with sports, which would have meant I
wouldn't have met and married Marilyn, which would have meant freedom.
Strike that last link in the chain. Of course, a computer doesn't make
me who or what I am. It's just a tool, like my headfinger, to help me
realize my potential.
If I had to be born with a physical handicap, I'm glad I was born at
the right time to witness the Headfinger and Computer Age.