Be careful with darn Facebook

Darn Facebook!

I have always tried to be careful about using anything that connects me to the “outside world.”

Quite a few years ago I was pestered by relatives and some friends saying that I should get on that Darn Facebook! I very seldom have used it to send a few messages to relatives and a very few friends mostly because some of them do not use what I prefer, which is regular email, but knowing even email is really going to be public for who-knows-who might be reading it. However, the worst thing that I have experienced came on March 16 when I got one of those messages, this one reading: “Wish Martha Pruitt a happy birthday”

I believe I was in kindergarten with Martha, roughly 75 or so years ago. We went to the same elementary and high school together. I had seen her at reunions a couple of times and every few years exchanged greetings at Christmas or just a note or so. Then when that Darn Facebook! began to be used, somehow that connection was made even though messages were sporadic and mostly from her rather my initiating a connection.

Nevertheless she was a friend, so I immediately jotted off on the box provided that said to “write a message” and clicked POST.

No sooner had I done so than I thought that I might have heard a while back that she had not been well and wondered if she hadn’t died. I googled and you probably guessed what I found: Her obituary from 2016. So I immediately went back to her Facebook and wrote an apology. Darn Facebook! Oh, Fiddlesticks! (and something stronger that I dare not print.)


One of the advantages of writing instead of talking on the phone is that you can recheck what message you are sending before it gets out of your control, but you do have to remember to do that reviewing before you press the send button. Writing or typing, as the case may be, can be done almost as fast as my thinking process – I am a little slow in thinking, I suppose. I used to write by hand now and then, but in my first year of teaching I learned from the pupils in a middle school class, that my handwriting was not easy for some to read, so I switched to printing at times or typing.

Even though, when in the fourth grade, I had received a certificate for excellent writing skills (penmanship it was called) using the Palmer Method, my handwriting clearly declined steadily after I left the fourth grade.

As a senior in high school, I took typing in a class with mostly girls who were supposed to be in training for secretarial work, but I had been advised by my two older siblings that typing skills would be good if I went to college and had to write term papers and such.

I eventually got to the point of being able to type (copy) about 60 words a minute which was pretty darn good.

I could do that on the manual typewriters at school that, incidentally, had no letters, numbers or symbols on the keys – that way I learned mostly to type without looking at what my fingers were hitting.

At home, I never quite got to 60 words a minute using my dad’s old Underwood typewriter – the keys required a bit more pressure to make a good imprint on the paper. We did have one electric typewriter at school that we each got to use about three times during the semester.

When I graduated from high school I did not get a car like some fellow graduates, but my big graduation gift was a portable Smith Corona manual typewriter that I used a lot for about five or six years before I spent more than I should have to get an IBM Selectric typewriter that lasted a really long time until my first computer. I still have my father’s Underwood but my fingers are no longer strong enough to pound the keys to get any speed at typing. Though I got rid of both my Smith Corona and the IBM, I do have my wife’s portable typewriter which I last used to type labels for our homemade raspberry and grape jelly.

Up until about 1990 the typewriter was an important device even in my college teaching. It was used to type the masters that were then used on the ditto machine that had a round drum that turned and the master put the print on to the ditto paper. Xerox machines were considered a bit more expensive, but eventually they replaced those old ditto and mimeograph machines. Ditto machines were better than mimeographs due to the black ink used with the mimeograph and the master for the mimeograph was tricker to deal with.


A word about weather. I think we are about at the end of complaining about snow and cold. I think that our roof is past the danger point of collapsing from the weight of snow and ice. Melting will probably continue for some time yet, but the end is almost in sight. Hopefully I won’t have to worry about cleaning off more of the street so that the mailbox can be reached both by the postal workers to deliver and for me to retrieve.

So it is time to complain about something else. I drove to Minneapolis last Wednesday mostly on MN 19 which happens to go through Winthrop. I certainly appreciated the improvement of MN 19 from Marshall to Vesta and a little earlier the redoing of the section from Vesta to Redwood Falls, but now I must warn you to slow down when going through Winthrop – not because of “the law,” but because the road has deteriorated from the winter, not unlike some of the roads now getting potholes in Marshall.

Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!