For a little over a year now, my beloved MacBook Pro has been without a functioning delete key (see image below: where working key should be, you’ll notice an empty key space filled with glowing backlight).
How did this happen? Well, let me tell you. Last Christmas, I decided I needed a big crafting project for our basement play space. I set my sights on several online DIY tutorials for a child’s teepee and worked for days like a madwoman until it was finished, imperfections and all.
Each morning for a few days between Christmas and New Year’s I took my coffee downstairs to work on cutting and sewing canvas, spacing out poles, and eventually, assembling the whole thing together. I had my laptop with me on the floor because I was using the online tutorials as a guide.
One morning, I carelessly knocked over my cup of coffee. I didn’t notice it right away, but the coffee had spilled onto part of the Mac keyboard. When I finally saw it, after I let out a string of oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shits, I swiftly righted the cup, flipped my laptop upside down and ran to get a towel. An initial assessment showed that every key was working except the delete key. An hours later assessment still showed that every key was working except the delete key.
I did some quick and dirty research online to see about replacing the keyboard. It all seemed to point to a very expensive replacement and no easy fix. I’ve never taken it anywhere to be serviced or inquired about a repair. Liam and I have simply dealt with life without delete. It is a HUGE pain in the ass to be typing anything of some length (e-mails, blog posts, lesson plans, etc.), because we inevitably make mistakes when we type, and there is no ease of just hitting a button to go backwards and erase. Instead, we must highlight the error and either type on top of it, or just hit the space bar to clear it. Often this latter move results in creating two spaces between words, when there is meant to be just one, so we have to highlight both spaces again and press the space bar one more time. Let me tell you, it is a real drag.
Forget forward deleting either, an easy alternative option on a non-Mac keyboard. There is this option on a Mac too, using a shortcut, but you have to use the command key in conjunction with the delete key.
Want to go back to a previously viewed website on your browser? Can’t do it with a quick and simple keystroke anymore. Have to use the trackpad to go and press that backward arrow. Major waste of time. Deleting massive amount of photos, or clips in iMovie? No problem, right? WHEN. YOUR. DELETE. KEY. WORKS. Now we have to manually drag everything to the trash. Such a chore.
I suppose it could be worse. We could be without the ‘e’ key, the most frequently occurring letter in the English alphabet, a fact I just looked up online. What would we do then? Substitute with another vowel, like ‘a’? Frances would be Francas. Restless Roost would be Rastlass Roost. Similar enough, right? It might even be fun for word-smithy readers to try and decipher blog posts using that simple key switcheroo, a cryptoquip of sorts.
Liam and I have agreed that the best, though, is when we get to work and use our Dell, district/office provided laptops—machines with fully functional keyboards. We’ll both forget that we can actually use the backspace key. So, we find ourselves doing the whole highlight and type-over bit, and then realize—wait a minute! We can actually just hit this key right here, and all is well with the world again. So easy. So the way it should be.
And because things are not as they should be, I find myself at times preferring to type out blog posts on my cell phone, a fact Liam thinks is just absurd given the small size of the screen. I admit this can be equally frustrating since the keyboard is mini-sized too and this makes it easy for misplaced fingers to type lots of errors. However, when this sort of thing happens, I can just easily hit the delete key, erase my mistake and type again!
Hopefully someday in the future we will once again have a functioning keyboard on the laptop. Until then, we are becoming expert highlighters and type-over-ers. Be thankful for your working keys, people. Don’t take them for granted!