The Los Angeles Times ran a feature today on Peter Winkler, who regular readers of this blog will reocognize as someone who has frequently commented on posts here over the years. He's severely disabled by arthritis and writes using a chopstick. He recently completed a biography of Dennis Hopper.
In the virtual world, Winkler roams free. He blogs. He comments. He write articles about film.
In the physical world, he increasingly is trapped — dependent on his sister and a long, red plastic chopstick.
Rheumatoid arthritis has battered him for 46 of his 55 years.
His neck won't turn. His head is pitched down, chin to chest. His elbow and wrist joints are so fixed in place, he cannot touch his face.
Sitting up in bed, he can no longer extend his arms far enough to place his fingertips on the keyboard of the MacBook Pro propped on a lap desk across his thighs.
Instead, he braces the chopstick between several fingers on his right hand and uses it to tap, tap, tap one key after another.
It's not so bad, he says. He's gotten pretty fast, and anyway, "I was always a two-finger typist."
Keep that in mind next time you are tempted to complain about how difficult it is for you to write. I know that I will.
(As a side note, I wonder why Peter doesn't use dictation software, like Dragon Naturally Speaking, rather than use the chopstick?)