JOE KELLY                     
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8.16.17
In case you were wondering, I use a laptop computer to write my columns. Iím writing a book and Iím using the same laptop for that. Iíve had this laptop since 2009. In computer years, thatís ancient. That being said, my laptop works as good today as it did all those years ago and I see no reason to replace it. I would tell you the name of my laptop, but nobody is paying me for an endorsement. And since they arenít helping me, Iím not helping them. Despite all these years of using my laptop and desktops before that, Iím still amazed by what computers can do for writers. Truth be told, I started writing - in elementary school - with a pen dipped into an inkwell. Really. The pen used replaceable metal tips called nibs. Knocked over inkwells, ink on hands and clothes were common. Those were Palmer Method years. Oval oval, push pull, push pull. Glide glide. It wasnít fun and I didnít like getting hit on the knuckles with a ruler for not holding my hand correctly, but all these years later people can read my handwriting, although I donít write on paper much these days. When I started writing for newspapers, which was in the mid-70s, we used manual typewriters. Newsrooms were loud in those days, reporters banging away on Royals and Underwoods. Loud teletype machines marked AP and UPI brought in news from around the world and the clickety-clack sound they made was continuous. Added to all that noise was a big room filled with reporters talking loud to be heard and editors talking even louder, some yelling. Talk about a headache. Most reporters kept a bottle of aspirin in their desk drawer. Mine was family sized. We rolled cheap newsprint into those manuals and pounded away. Spell a word wrong and it got crossed out and the correct word was penciled in. If there was a need to switch paragraphs around, we cut and pasted. Literally. On each writerís desk was a big pair of scissors and a glue pot. Iím the kind of writer who seldom gets it right the first time. I rewrite and then rewrite that, switching paragraphs around. Back in the manual typewriter days, there was usually more glue on my desk, my typewriter and my hands then there was in the glue pot. And oftentimes my fingers were blue. Blue carbon paper was used so that there was always a second copy of everything written. What happened to that second copy is something I never knew. Those manual typewriters gave way to electric typewriters. You didnít have to hit the keys as hard and there was much less noise. Laptops are silent. So even if todayís column wasnít interesting, at least I didnít disturb anyone while writing it.