Eons ago when I was in charge of writing, editing and
publishing the bulletin of the church I was going to, I used
a typewriter (remember those?). Because I was a stickler for
reading in columns, that's how the bulletin was printed, in
2 columns. The only problem was I was also crazy enough to
type-justify the columns, meaning the words fell into
straight lines at both sides of the column.
This meant that I had to manually count each character
including spaces of a line so I can adjust the word spacing
to type-justify them. It was tedious work, but the result
was a neat, easy to read church bulletin.
One day while I was bent over counting those characters with
the tip of my pencil, a church member walked into the office
and was surprised at the exercise in patience I was
subjecting myself to.
"You need a computer," he quipped.
I looked up and just smiled. I didn't know what to say. For
one thing I didn't want to act like an ignoramus and let on
that I didn't know how to use a computer in case he was
thinking of donating one. He then walked on to the pastor's
office without further comment.
The next morning this same church member walks again into
the office but this time he's carrying equipment which he
lays in front of me. It turned out to be a computer and a
monitor. He busied himself for a few minutes making
connections and, when done, turned it on.
"That's an Apple, but the monitor is still in monotone," he
began to explain. "I'm not using it now because I bought a
new PC," he continued.
He then handed me a booklet, saying, "This is the
manual...have fun," and left.
So there I was in front of a black screen that had a tiny
blinking line and I didn't know what to do. Within reach was
the pencil and typewriter. I could turn off the computer
(that was the only thing I knew how to do so far) and go
back to counting and get cross-eyed, or I could open the
manual and start learning.
I opened the manual. It in turn opened a whole new world of
bits and bytes, cold and warm boots, disks and drives and
languages that didn't make sense on paper but brought
coherence when processed through an operating system.
I was hooked. Through the years I taught myself word
processing, desktop publishing, HTML, Web development and
online marketing. It wasn't all that easy and at times
painstaking, but I just had to learn.
Now I'm writing this article which will be read by over a
I was never able to thank that church member as we went on
different paths. But I guess the work I do is a testament of
my gratitude to him and, in an extent, to life in general
for opening up such a wide avenue of learning.
Oftentimes a leap of faith is determining through our work
how much gratitude we want to express for the lessons we
About the Author:
Dean F. Mapa's mission is to motivate networkers worldwide.
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