For those of us who care about such things, it’s fascinating to note that keyboard design and composition have remained largely unchanged since Enrico Royal brought the first typewriter to the United States aboard Christopher Columbus’ flagship, Santa Maria. Since Enrico was Chris’s personal secretary, this revelation goes a long way toward explaining why Chris was able to publish The Pilgrims of Cuba in August of 1492, even though he didn’t land there until October.
While Enrico’s keyboard has been perfectly serviceable for more than 800 years, we’re not satisfied with the status quo. We’ve been tinkering with a radical re-design, the compositional tools of which include keyboard shortcuts for the most common business words, phrases, and complete sentences. Here’s a partial list of the expressions possible with our new board:
- CTL+Y = “Yes.” This is the word most commonly used by subordinates when asked by superiors if a bad idea is good.
- CTL+N = “No.” This is the word most commonly used in business settings by superiors when asked by subordinates if a good idea is good — but only if the superiors are certain the subordinates will get the credit for the good idea.
- CTL+BS = “Everything will be completed on time and under budget.” This sentence is most frequently used when the sender has done absolutely nothing — but already has accepted a better job offer from another firm.
- CTL+PJB = “I’ll have the proposal for you in a jiffy, Boss.” This reassurance is employed if (a) the sender did nothing but has a template he can adapt in a short time; (b) the sender already stole the proposal from a co-worker who’s about to be pretty miffed; or (c) a jiffy refers to the next morning, and the sender has a stash of crank for the all-nighter he’s about to pull.
- CTL+MTLB = “Make the logo bigger.” This phrase is a favorite of corporate marketing types who have no idea what’s going on, no objectives they can derive or articulate, and no meaningful input to provide to advertising agencies, marketing firms, and/or internal marketing resources.
- CTL+ITIHTIMB = “I thought I had that in my briefcase.” This is used by functionaries who print e-mails, believing it’s better to “file a hard copy”. Since their filing systems are as finely honed as their computer skills, they promptly misplace the paper.
- CTL+IWHHTPDOTBMHDCATMBSC = “I would have had the proposal done on time, but my hard drive crashed; and the mother board short-circuited.” This an example of kleptus vocabularus, used by corporate non-performers who listen astutely to IT personnel, who, for their own parts, use arcane techno-speak to cover for their own non-performance.
- CTL+IWABAASAILHATSTDWTWPTORP = “I was abducted by aliens as soon as I left home, and they stole the document while they were performing the obligatory rectal probe.” While more scatological than the rest of our shortcuts, this one isn’t a smokescreen for bureaucratic malingering. It is, however, germane only to kindred spirits of Gary “Area 51″ McKinnon.
We’re not sure Apple or Microsoft will be interested in our new keyboard. But bureaucrats everywhere will clamor for its promise of ensuring less accountability through technology.
We’ll be happy to take their money. But they’re not our type.
— By United States Navy Department. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.