When You Type Enough, Eventually You’ll Kill a Keyboard

Just because I was on an Internet vacation didn’t mean I was on a vacation from everything else I do. During the two weeks I stayed away from the Internet I was busy writing stories, working my day job, and in general keeping up with the hustle and bustle of the rest of my life, minus the distraction of the Internet.

And on March 21, just after lunch, I discovered that I had killed my work keyboard. More precisely, the all-important ENTER key had died. Hitting the ENTER key did nothing. Being a technical person, I did the first thing that came to mind. I upended my keyboard, and shook it vigorously. Crumbs and flakes and goo jumped from the keyboard like rats from a burning ship. Satisfied, I rested the keyboard back on the desk and hit the ENTER key. It still wasn’t working.

I unplugged the keyboard and plugged it back in. No dice. I restarted the computer. Still no dice. Reluctantly, I finally tried using the ENTER key on the numeric keypad. That, at least, worked, but there was no way it was going to work for me. It would mess with my rhythm and slow me down. With a heavy heart, I asked and received a replacement. I must have had that keyboard for 2 years. While I only have data for the last year, I estimate I put it through roughly 10 million keystrokes.

The problem is, my new keyboard is not identical. It looks the same, sure. But looks, as the saying goes, can be deceiving. The keys are best described as “mushy.” If better description is required, consider this:

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you are backing your car out of the driveway and you realize that there is some obstruction–another car, an elderly woman, a cat–in your way. You step on the brake, but is responds as though you are pushing it through a thick soup of molasses. No matter how hard you jam your foot down on the brake, there is a mushy, soggy feeling to it and the car takes seemingly forever to respond. (In the dream, of course, you run into the car/elderly woman/cat and suddenly have other things to worry about.)

That is what this new keyboard feels like. There is no ZING! to it. No UMPH! Not to put to fine a point on it, it feels exactly like tapping your fingers repeatedly in mud. For someone who generally types between 75 and 85 words per minute, and who can, at times reach and maintain 90 words per minute, this is mind-numbingly annoying.

The only problem is: I’m afraid to ask for another keyboard. Because what if the other keyboard is even worse. The Backspace might stick. The spacebar might not feel right. The E key might be slightly askew (making it difficult to type the word “askew.”)

About all I can do is vent, and hope that you sympathize.


  1. Jamie,

    Tools of the trade for a carpenter – hammer, saw, screwdrivers
    Tools of the trade for a mason – level, trowels, hammer

    These guys buy their own basic tools because A) it’s traditional and B) they want what they want. Their employer provides the big stuff (computer in your case).

    I don’t spend near as much time punching keys as you do but I wanted a wireless keyboard and mouse so I bought myself a $39 Logitech setup. Yes my employer benefits from it but do we really want to keep score at the sub $50 level?


  2. Nod – I’m with Rick. I spend 8 – 10 hours a day on my work keyboard / mouse and I buy my own. I have a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic keyboard and a Logitech wireless mouse.


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