Backspace and delete

October 27, 2012

This photo may not mean anything to some of you, but boomers remember when it was the first step in correcting an error on  a manual typewriter.

Without the opportunity to instantly delete a wrong entry, we’d backspace and either erase (if we had been lucky enough to be typing on something called erasable bond paper) or we’d paint Liquid Paper over the error to white it out so we could type the correct entry over it. There was also a tape eraser strip that we could type over; in effect, it whited out the error if we typed the exact same character in the space, then we removed it and could correctly click on the keys. Seems like a complicated procedure, but it was second nature to us.

DELETE keys are hard to find in life, because no matter what we do, we leave a permanent record. Maybe it’s on someone else’s psyche, but usually it’s on our own.

The BACK SPACE key allows us to do just that: take a step back and consider our error.  We may go forward again with a corrected action, but the error is still there, somewhere, under the surface. Part of the record.

There’s no shame in stepping back, seems to me, but there IS shame in trying to delete errors and pretend they never happened.

Our permanent record is more than a school file; it’s written in the lives of everyone we’re close to.

But we don’t always do the right thing. No shame in that, either. Life is about trial and error.

I like the concept of back-spacing and even have a pin constructed out of an old Back Space typewriter key.

Sometimes it’s an interesting exercise to think about back-spacing and asking what-if questions.  What if I had done X? or Y?

{Yes, the examined life IS hell.}

3 comments on “Backspace and delete
  1. Eleanor says:

    I read your blog all the time, but am guilty of rarely commenting. This one really strikes a chord with me. Thank you.

  2. Lavender Luz says:

    Lovely. I had never thought about the nuances between the two actions, but when you put it this way it really resonates.

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