THE BACKSPACE KEY

In my house there was always an old Hispano Olivetti M-40 from the 30s.

Apart from what was (and still is, because it still exists) a rock-solid gear tank, it retained the aesthetics and look of its time. The keys were round and flat, that of the “ergonomics” was not yet the order of the day when it was built, and not to mention the “portability”, that could well weigh twenty kilogrames.

The fact is that the device fulfilled very well with its mission and only a tropical climate and high levels of humidity could finally with the agility of its movements of carriage.

I was always struck by a key that was badly oriented, as if it had been tackled. While the rest remained unperturbed to the use and time, this in turn looked the other way. It was the backspace key. A key that made the car go back one step. It was the damn key, the one that made it go back to, probably, rectify something that was left unmarked.

I could not help thinking that it was a kind of warning to who wrote in it, that this key should not be pressed regularly if it was intended to be a good typist. Yes, because before, when writing directly on paper, going back to change something that was already printed was a mess. Someone who boasted of typing well … had no need to go back almost never. Like today with the computer! The key today is called “Delete” and in addition to going backwards, it deletes without leaving a trace.

Out of all this … Is it as bad to go back as they say ?, Some say that even to get momentum must be done. However, many people who have not known how to regress in time have regretted it. I know I’m not talking about anything in particular but I think the interesting thing is in the concept, and not in the cases. To go back you have to have a lot of courage, and almost always it is preceded by a mistake, of an error that does not admit another one.

It is as if we thought that in our life there should always be a KICK-BACK KEY, for when we screw up more than we should. That if … that is oriented differently, to warn us not to give too many times.

 

Madrid, October 2001.

 

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