Do you notice anything different about my writing this week? Does it look better? Does it seem fresh and new? I was afraid you might say what you just said. Well, it may look the same as always, but it was written on my brand-new laptop! Yes, I have a new laptop. Old faithful has served me well, but I have retired her. I have used my old laptop, with Windows 7, for ten years! In the computer world, that would be like driving a 1912 Ford Model T! My current Ford is not quite that old, but it is the same age as Lassie the Laptop, and has almost 200,000 miles on the odometer. I like to get all the good out of whatever I buy, by using it as long as possible. That old laptop and Ford are both young in comparison to our clothes dryer. That thing is 41-years old and still drying! Those are all youngsters in comparison to the guy writing this column! Actually, I’m not as old as Methuselah, but I’m not finished yet either.
I am so old, my first writings were done with pen and paper, long before we had PCs. That was shortly after they had discarded stone tablets and carving, because upgrades and support were no longer available! Then, when I was in the 11th grade, I learned to type…with all ten fingers. Pelham Ables taught us…on Royal and Underwood manual typewriters. We had to learn without looking at our fingers. If Mr. Ables caught us looking, he made us stand up in front of the class and say, “I am a gooney bird!” These days, he would probably be fired for mental and psychological abuse. I am forever thankful for the gift Mr. Ables gave me. I may have used that skill in my work more than most others I learned. I am talking specifically about typing, but the gooney-bird thing may have been a forerunner to my doing comedy in front of a crowd!
My first electric typewriter was a hybrid. No, it didn’t run on both electricity and gas. It was all electric, but the carriage return was still manual. That dinosaur got me through college and seminary. By the time I went back to work on a doctorate, I had bought my first laptop. That was back in the 90s. They called it a laptop, but that thing was about the same size as that Model-T, and about as slow! If it sat on my lap too long, I couldn’t walk afterwards! I wrote my doctoral dissertation on that thing. I would have graduated sooner if I’d had this new fast-as-lightning model back then. I also might not have lost those 30-something pages of work.
I have to admit, I am a little sad to retire the old dinosaur. We have cranked out quite a few items over the past ten years. All my nine books, except the first one, were written on that laptop. An untold number of sermons, studies, stories, and songs have been written on it. Since 2014, one newspaper column each week, which is currently in sixteen papers across Alabama, have been written on it. For the past five years, several feature stories for Mature Living magazine have been pecked out of it. Ole Lassie the Laptop and I have spent more time together than I have with most of you! I know it was only a machine, but I am thankful for what we’ve accomplished together. Thank you for reading what she has written. Now, I need a new nickname for the new laptop.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.