Okay. Last week the optical was — not “optical,” idiot, obstacle. Thank you. Last week the optical was I couldn’t use the laptop, so I had to [type it] on a cell phone. That was no good. This week, the new Optical is [to] write [this] whole thing in Google Voice typing. I’m talking to this stupid cell phone.
Just reminds me how much the way I use[d] [to] right these columns has changed over the years.
In ancient times, all my writing was shared by mouth. I called it talking. Other people called it oral composition, but that always sounded like having to do with kissing.
When I started writing Adventures in Poetry, August 1885, it was all wet, clay tablets using stamps and styluses or, as we educated writers say, “styli.” Everything was written in an alphabet of my own creation designed to be unreadable by anyone dyslexic. Like, for example, this cell phone. By December, I had advanced [to] pencils and erasers.
From January to about June, I tried writing using a pen. Our director had to read these and type them up in [Microsoft] Word. Finally, in June, I got an email account and had no choice but [to] learn how to type as I do now, with one finger on each hand. Our director was ecstatic.
For a couple of years, the column was always submitted by email as plain text. Then, I got a hold of a real computer with Word, so I got to learn fonts and other sorts of formatting. I could highlight every word with different colors and drop in random pictures of kittens. I also learned how to [use] Photoshop.
That lasted until a nice tech person came to Real Change and talked us all into using Google Docs. “They’re easy to share.” And they were. You can share them with chimpanzees, if the chimps have Google accounts. You can also share them with fellow staff members. If they have Google accounts.
Last week wasn’t the first time I ever used a cell phone to write one of these things. I pulled it off once before. But I hated it both times. My fingers [are too] big.
Now I’m talking to a machine that doesn’t know the difference between Optical and obstacle. Unless I enunciate like a Shakespearean ac-tor. And why does it always capitalize Optical? Is it dense?
So I’ve come full circle. I’m back to talking.
In other news, it’s nice to see Jimmy Carter getting some credit for doing something good for a change. Until recently, he was the worst president most of us ever could imagine — that is, until 2016.
Suddenly, for reasons I can’t fully comprehend, we need oil reserves to tap into. Well, we have oil reserves to tap into thanks to Jimmy Carter. Way to go, Jimmy.
Carter got the idea to set up our oil reserves because OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) (OMG this phone can’t spell obstacle unless I pronounce it ob-sta-cull but it can spell OPEC on one try and knows to use all caps) stopped selling us oil. So Americans were waiting hours in line to buy gasoline and blaming it on Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter realized that Americans would blame other presidents in the future if nothing was done [to] prevent it. That would be a shame.
Trying to understand why there’s a shortage of oil right now. It seems to come down to the fact that in 2018 someone kissed a bat full on the lips and that caused COVID-19. Oral osculation of an intimate nature. They were probably just trying to compose an oral haiku (Twinkle twinkle lit / tle bat, how I wonder what you’re / at, up above the world). Then a lot of people, including oil freighter pilots, got the COVID, and here we are, with no oil freighters or very few. Not Biden’s fault. But he gets blamed for it. Jimmy Carter foresaw that. Jimmy Carter, the peanut-farming prognosticator. Biden owes him a solid.
Further lessons to take from this bold experiment:
Never kiss a bat full on the lips. Something bad could happen. And you’ll get the president in trouble.
If your laptop dies, spring for a new laptop.
Oil freighter pilots are people just like us.
If you Google voice type with your wife in the room, you’re going to hear the word “what” said a lot [tight with your wife in the empty I need for your typing] ß Anitra said that. I can’t figure it out either.
This column has been heavily edited because speech-to-text is … buggy.
Read more of the Dec. 29, 2021-Jan. 4, 2022 issue.