CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - My Information Highway Is Rutted With Typos

By Jack Cawthon
I love technology! As I sit here typing on my electric typewriter--hang with me to the end--I'm listening to my eight-track player belt out songs by Roy Acuff, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Arvil Pratlow and many others that I often hear on my FM radio with its crystal-clear sound playing "classic" country from that ever-favorite station, WPDX, 104.9, in Clarksburg.

(You may not be too familiar with Arvil Pratlow's music. He was one of the famous sons, at least without a double descriptive, from Big Puf who was a regular performer at the Over Easy Inn. His ever so brief claim to fame came from his hit single "Stoned in Stonewood," which made the top of the charts for several weeks in the Tri-Holler region.

(Arvil tended to live out his music and as a result he became becalmed one night on the railroad tracks near his memorable song's location as a freight train loaded considerably more even than Arvil claimed the right-of-way, making a two-track hit for him. In memory of his wry sense of humor and lifestyle, his band performed Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" at his funeral. I digress, but feel this is information you should have to better understand our hill traditions.)

But as I was saying about technology: I feel that I may have moved a little too fast to an electric typewriter, leaving behind a dependable old manual one. The words have never come out the same on this modern one.

I feel the typewriter is to blame, as the old manual I used when I first began writing for the Glenville Pathfinder years ago produced some words that live in memory, if not infamy, and which gained an eager young writer readers, if not worse, especially when I bad-mouthed lots of people, including my former high school teachers. At most, I found out that I had readers, more than I can claim now with a lousy typewriter--hang with me--and entering it into a tool of the Devil, then have it all go hurtling to Hur in a hand basket, so to speak.

Ah, yes, the computer. My writing is highly labor intensive. With enough trouble with a word-challenged typewriter, a computer keyboard is much worse. I don't even try to compose words on it, but instead copy my ill-gotten ones.

I just try to duplicate them, suitable or not, on a keyboard that has too many keys, most of which don't seem to deal with words, and try to strike the ones that do.

I blame the Weavers for all this fuss and bother! Once they produced a dandy Hur Herald on paper, duh, like a real newsPAPER. Then they got fancy-minded, not realizing the hardship on someone like me who is still trying to adjust with advanced typing technology. One needs to move slowly in these matters!

Through intense study and concentration, I have learned to process my duplicated typing into something foreign to my complete understanding, all for the sake of my dedicated following, at last count numbered in the high single digits.

But don't get me started on a digital examination! I am also ignorant of the new language. I have always been bilingual in that I speak hillbilly fluently, can converse in standard English, but always have had trouble in writing it, which you may accept without further explanation.

But there is new meanings in computerease that confuse me. Take "hashtag." This I had associated with a substance smoked to produce a high. "Hacking," a persistent cough. "Blog," a wetlands area. "Android," an outer space alien. Now, a new one: "selvie" comes along. Isn't that one of the seven little guys who hung out with Snow White?

To add even further insult there is the "smart phone." No way I am acquiring a phone smarter than I am or learn to type with my thumbs. Give me back the rotary dial instead!

But, alas, I am being forced into a brave new word when I have yet to adjust to 1984, sometimes known as the Patriot Act.

But not the Little Woman (5 ft., 1 in.) who is moving right along and even knows how to access something which I called Spacebook, but found out it is called something else. But after looking over her shoulder a few times I will stick with my label.

For a while I thought I might like to join, but then I found one needed friends to belong. Well, that ruled me out! If I get proficient enough I will search for a site only for loners, misfits and those people who voted Democrats in the last election. In other words, my kind of people!

One further note about computers. Years ago our son decided that he wanted to explore the emerging fad. I tried to explain to him that computers may be only a flash in the electrons, but you know how kids are.

He now works for an affiliate of a major mental institution here in Morgantown, an identity I won't divulge for security reasons, except to say it has lots of parties and specializes in burning portions of the city after major jock wins.

He works in a department which he identifies only as "IT." This sounds spooky to me, but normal for Morgantown. Of course there is Never Say Anything, but listen carefully to it all, and the CI of A.

I don't question him about his duties. But if anyone asks what he does, I merely say he works for "it," smile, and change the subject.

This is only a brief summary of the misery and hardships I endure just to present a few words to devoted readers who may then most likely turn to something more entertaining such as Spacebook, leaving me to dangle in cyber damnation.

Well, read it and weep. I know that I do!