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By H.G. Miller

Perhaps one of the greatest things ever invented would be the typewriter. Followed of course by the word processor, then computer, then Palm Pilot and then those cool Star Trek headsets that take everything you say and translate it into horribly boring dialogue and static scenes that even a trained chimp would be ashamed of. At least, that's what I guess is happening.

Anyway, about the typewriter and all of its spawn. I am very happy for this invention to have come into my life. You see, I have a condition that would be called chronically bad handwriting. Ask any teacher I've ever had and they'll probably tell you something like “I don't know if he was smart or not. It was just easier to give him a 'B' and move on to a student whose handwriting didn't resemble the Chinese alphabet.”

Sadly, I still hold my pens and pencils with the same grip that a three-year-old child uses to maneuver an over-sized crayon across some Britney Spears “Color My Panties” activity book.

I think it's the result of a complete lack of initiative on my part. Sometime around the fourth grade, I just stopped caring about penmanship altogether. The sports superstars of the day were getting contracts near the sum of a million dollars a year, and I'd seen some of their autographs. They looked horrible. I figured I could just wing it in the old handwriting department until my natural talents lifted me above the masses into that echelon of people who have people that take care of all that writing for them.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until my junior year of high school before I realized that there are very few five-eleven white boys with arthritic knees who ever make the big money in sports. I'd also been cut by the basketball team, given up on baseball, broken my foot in soccer and been laughed at by the football team. So, I wasn't really getting face time with the scouts, anyway.

By this time, of course, my penmanship had settled into a choppy sort of hieroglyphic style, where I would draw rudimentary pictures of the objects I wished to describe, and my superiors would just wrinkle their brows, sigh heavily, and say, “that's great…”

Thankfully, the state of Kansas has this rule about all high school students taking a course in typing before they can graduate. As luck would have it, I wanted to graduate, and thus took the typing class, along with a few math and phys ed courses that I wasn't so keen on.

It was in typing class that I discovered these machines that allow you to write in perfectly-legible English without having to resort to the use of a pen and paper. From this point on, I would try to make millions as a writer, now that the world could see my other talents in crystal-clear, Times-New-Romanesque glory.

Unfortunately, that hasn't been going so well, either. But, at least I can keep trying to write while all those smug athlete types have to resort to making commercials about itch cream and 10-10-whatever long-distance calls.

I do still occasionally run into problems, though. Tonight, for instance, I am trying to decipher some notes I have written in the margins of a script I am working on. I have a conversation between a guy and his girlfriend and then a note reading “explore reltrdip” or something to that effect.

Do I want to explore their relationship further? Do I think she might be retarded? Is that more interesting? Will making his girlfriend retarded move the focus of the story away from his initial motivation? Will it make this a script that the Farrelly Brothers might be interested in?

What in the hell was I thinking?!?!?!