Tuesday, August 17, 2010


The adaptability of the mind endlessly fascinates me. Here's the situation:

About a month ago, I am staying up way past my bedtime. I'm having a bit of scotch as I am wont to do on occasion--Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks, if you don't mind. I'm tired. Maybe I'm a bit tipsy. I doze. My glass, lovely Baccarat rocks glass that makes even the most harsh of scotches taste divine, tilts and spills onto and into my laptop. I wake, mutter "oh shit," clean up as best I can and go to bed. Next morning I do a thorough cleaning of the keyboard and assess the damage: the "s" key has perished in the flood. Not too horrible, considering.

I don't have the money to replace my laptop and it's silly to do so for a dead "s": so for the past month or so, I've been typing (emails, Facebook and Twitter status updates, WIPs, this posting) without having an active "s" key.

At first I set about to live an entirely "s"-less life. For the following few days after the death of "s", I did just that and I must say the exercise was a fascinating writing experiment. One has to truly manipulate one's vocabulary to write "s"-free. If you don't believe me, try it. Live "s"-less for one day (or "t"-less, "p"-less, "h"-less) and see how much ingenuity you will have to have to simply post a Twitter update (that's only 140 characters, relatively easy one would think but don't be fooled!). Pick any letter and try to live without it!

Definitely exercises the brain, which is great for a writerly exercise but difficult for an everyday existence.

So now I do a lot of copying and pasting for each and every "s" occurrence. I use the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+V for the pasting and let me tell you, my mind has adapted to this necessity so deftly that I am amazed at the agility of the brain. Even when I'm at another computer, every time I come to an "s" in a word my left pinkie automatically stretches out for the Ctrl key. I don't even have to think about it anymore, it's that natural, and after such a short period. I'm truly amazed. Granted, occasionally I need a capital "s" and that takes extra steps (usually I simply search one out in a past writing sample or off a website page) and then I forget that I've copied that particular form of "s" and I'll paSte a capital "s" in the middle of a word. A little frustrating but nothing too diabolical. It's all just about adjusting.

For me it's a perfect allegory for life: one must always be adaptable in order to continue moving forward.

That and mind your Ps, Qs, Ss, and above all, your scotch!

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