Saturday evening. Himself was in his study working on the church newsletter and program for the following morning. I was something restless and in need of a cozy chat with a sympathetic friend. So I collected the little notebook computer that had been allocated to me, took myself to a quiet corner and prepared to write. I had just got to the opening steps of the computer, with all the icons spread across the screen, when Himself rushed in. “My mouse has died!” He seized my mouse, unplugged it from my computer and rushed off. I was left staring at a patchwork screen and no idea where to go from there.
I thought of marching into his study and either demanding the return of my mouse, or an explanation of how he thought I was going to manage without it. However, I know well his propensity for handing me a manual – “You’ll find it in there” – and most of these manuals are about a thousand pages long. Now I am not a great manual reader. I can follow a recipe, read a knitting pattern, and usually understand the Japanese-English instructions that come with radios and motorcars.
Instead I marched into his study, making angry cat noises, grabbed the DOS-6 manual from the shelf, and retreated to my corner. He didn’t even look up. On the cover it states “Step-by-Step Guidance in an Easy to Reference Format.” If you have never tried to find your way around a keyboard by referencing a DOS-6 manual, don’t! The more pages I turned, the more frustrated I became. An hour later I still had that window of icons staring me in the face. I didn’t even know how to shut down, and I had been strictly warned never, but NEVER, to turn the computer off without shutting down properly.
Eventually in desperation I turned to the troubleshooting section and by hook, or by crook, or perhaps my angel had recovered from a fit of laughter and took a hand, I managed to open the Word program. By now I was really too unsettled to enjoy a cozy chat. I had a major complaint to unload first. Out of all the pent-up frustration came –
The Song of a Mouse Trained Operator
Control, Escape, Delete, and Scroll,
With Alt and F numerical,
With Arrow keys, the Enter bar –
The WHOLE! And I’m hysterical.
A mouse! A mouse! My kingdom for a mouse!
I cry amongst the debris
Of icons up and Windows full –
The ultimate inebris!
The User book is chock-a-block
With informative herbage:
But just what do you call the thing
In this computer verbage?
I want to move the cursor down,
But SHIFT, it will not do it;
(Now if I had that mouse around
There’s really nothing to it.)
A click, a click, a double click,
And I can write with ease.
But not tonight, because tonight
I have to use the keys!
Yes, I did write my letter, too. Not the cozy little chat type, though. Just a “little-news” communication, that I was thinking of her, would enjoy sharing a cup of coffee, and would write again later.
I still can’t use the keys alone. I still need my mouse.
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