Originally Posted: 2004-01-14 12:34pm
Num Lock Key: A reckoning
I was just thinking about you today and, well, Num Lock Key, we go back a long ways.
In the beginning, you were an annoyance. A small one, like a young sibling who wants to tag along to a would-be teenage makeout party. Or a malnourished, vegan PETA activist at a Ted Nugent concert. A tiny distraction. A faucet leak in a distant room. A fly tapping against a window.
In time, however, you fueled my semi-obsessive-compulsive tendencies with your indicator light on my keyboard. I had to turn you off in order to get any work done. Your one green eye staring up at me. Mocking me at times. The Caps Lock indicator light made sense. It prevented me from indiscretions like accidentally shouting in an online chat room. But why a Num Lock light? Why, why, why?
In time, I grew to hate you. I can admit that now. But it was born purely of ignorance. Like the Scroll Lock, Pause/Break and ~ keys, I didn’t understand the reason for your existence. I’d turn you off and then spread rumors about you with Home, Page Up and Page Down. When you weren’t around, 7 referred to you as Num Nuts. They were cruel, childish jokes. You were an enigma to us; awkward, like Paris Hilton in John Deer coveralls or a Chinese foreign exchange student in Utah.
And then I won a job in the glorious field of Data Entry!
Everything changed between us. It was an epiphany. Suddenly I understood your significance. I learned 10-key. You enabled and disabled the number pad with ease and skill, allowing me to enter hundreds of pages of meaningless numbers day in and day out. Screw my business degree and struggling filmmaking career; it was you and me and Data Entry for LIFE. (A shout out to my DE homies! Datizzle Entrizzle for shizzle!)
But I know, even now, with the excitement and magic of my new dead-end job still hanging in the air, that eventually I will move on. Perhaps I’ll land a job similar to one held by the film crew sitting across the street from my office today, with their grip trucks, generators, trailers and craft services, each of them making more in a day than I do in two weeks, or a month. Maybe Fox will buy one of my screenplays with a lucrative backend deal. And maybe I’ll descend from the sky tomorrow and usher in a millennium of peace, happiness and goodwill.
Probably, I’ll take a slight pay cut with a job in a post production facility, while trying to support the valium addiction I’m sure to develop at my current position, staring at a monitor in a pitch black room for 8 hours a day, digitally touching up Pamela Anderson’s ass, and talking about the good old days when it was just me and my num lock key against the world. Sure, we’ll still see each other on occasion. Maybe a courtesy nod or a “sup?” when no one’s looking. But things will never be the way they are now.
So if you see me walking by. And a tear is in my eye. Look away. Baby, look away.