Posted by: check868 | May 10, 2008

Old Custies

Last night, I went out for dinner with this old guy (probably 65 or so). We were talking about writing, and I put forward my theory that the masses have always been illiterate, that’s why people have such crappy spelling and grammar on emails. He got a bit defensive and he said that he can’t figure out how to use capitals and punctuation on a keyboard.

“Also, I can’t figure out how to get a new line on my emails,” he complained.

“A new line?” I considered this. It was possible that he was using a plaintext email editor, so he would need to type the HTML tag for a new line, <br />, for them to show up in his messages. I didn’t think he’d understand about HTML, though. “What happens when you press enter?” I asked.

“Enter?” he enquired.

“Yeah… the newline key?”

“Oh, is that how you do it?”

It takes a lot to shock me, but that did it. I was stunned. How was that even possible?

“But you’re a lawyer, you much have used word processors… typewriters!”

“I have secretaries,” he explained.

“But, in college, you must have typed things on a typewriter.”

“I wrote things longhand. If I needed something typed, I hired a typist.” Wow.

It blows my mind how helpless he must be. He didn’t like how shocked I was, but he was quite pleased with learning how to add newlines to his email.

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