lauren steele

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen

Punch the Damn Keys …dedicated to Berkley Hudson

It was a two paragraph thank you note. It was sincere and sweet. It was nostalgic. For some people, for some reason, old and unused things collect dust that make them not decrepit, but endearing.

I wish people that collected hurt instead of dust and experience instead of time became endearing. Instead, they become intimidating to others and enigmatic to themselves. Intimidating and enigmatic like some contraption that is old and unused and collecting dust.

Like a typewriter.

A sweet and sincere mentor, a sixty-year-old Southern gentleman, placed it in front of her and she smiled at first. She knew that he was eccentric; he was intentional though. He knew that she was reserved; she was dutiful though.

He needed to send a thank you note to an old friend that owned a bookshop in Mississippi and he asked her to type it up on that heavy rig. By golly.

“Nowhh (now), when you get to the end of the sentence, you haftah (have to) pull that lee-vah (lever) back all the way to the vehhry (very) beginning of the next lihhne (line). If you dahn’t (don’t), you are just going to be tyyypin’ (typing) black onto black—rahmembah (remember) that the paper does run out of room.”

“Oh, and when you mahke (make) an error, you are going to haftah (have to) strike through. No such thang (thing) as dahlete (delete) here.”


The keys were wispy and fluid and very extrinsic to the generally cumbersome heft of that typewriter.


Shit. She forgot to capitalize Richard. He wants this note to be perfect. It has to be perfect. She moseyed over to the stationary drawer like there was no particular reason to be doing so and grabbed a fistful of monogrammed sheets, pretending like he didn’t notice.


She had a little more confidence, but the going was slow.…n.g. y.o.u. l…….a…s.t. w..a..s. s.u…..c.h.. a p..l……e.a…s..u..r..e.

“Don’t forget to pull that lee-vah.”

I.. h..o.p….e t.hat.. .t…h..i.s. .n……o.t…e f…i..n..d..s y…o.u w..e..l.l.

Ok, she was gaining speed, it was like momentum when you finally beat a hill on a run and you find the downslide.

But she miscalculated the gradient. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and add an extra “t” in “after,” right?

Start over.

Stumble again. Bookstore is one word, not two. And she calls herself a writer.

Start over.

Start over.

That’s not how you spell accommodate.

Start over.

“Now how are yah (you) doing over thahh (there)? You ahhlmost (almost) done? That needs to be mayhhhlt (mailed) today.”

There was a pile of mishaps, a mass of blunders. No hiding that fistful of stationary now.

He walked over and saw that hill of paper that she just couldn’t slow down on enough to get her  wits about her. He saw the disappointment on her face. He knew how much she hates failing–that is why she is always taking off so fast. It’s to get far enough ahead that if she does error, she has enough time to catch up before she loses it.

He also knew that she couldn’t be told to slow down. So he said the next best thing, once with a little chuckle, and then again with gusto.

“Punch the damn keys!”


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This entry was posted on March 8, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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