Friday, February 5, 2010

Laptop Story Board

I'm lame. Pathetic. Bored with sorting through the scraps of 2009. How do they do it? The CPAs? Stay focused? Over and over and over. Miss entire calendar months year after deadly year. Thank god for their patience, their perseverance. Mine the size of a pea. Dwindling as each hour passes. My green eyeshades askew.

Piss-poor light burns, blurs my vision gluing contact lenses to my eyeballs. The dimmer switch on the vintage ceiling fixture purely for low wattage ambiance. Holiday cocktail party mood lighting. Up and down. Up and down. I wander around looking for busy work. Anything. Yesterday I dusted each and every liquor bottle on the 19th century tea trolley masquerading as a bar. Unscrewed the caps to get every speck.

So I did what any respectable, out of ideas, bored spitless, brain dead warrior would ... unplugged my laptop, grabbed my tax stuff and retreated upstairs to the plush white coolness of my bedroom. Plopped myself in the middle of my queen bed, spread the necessary papers to either side and leaned cozy into a deep banking of pillows. My legs tucked Indian-style, my lapboard across my knees. Ah. Ready. Familiar. My comfort zone. Tens of thousands of hours typing classwork on a Smith Corona, calculating thirteen column spreadsheets with my trusty HP and preparing dense business presentations as college melted into grad school and my MBA program into banking, consulting, board work.

Home base. My laptop centered on my lapboard. My ever-faithful lapboard purchased in the early 1970s at Charette's on Route 128 outside Boston when computer start-ups sprang like mushrooms along the first high tech corridor. Computers the size of my kitchen would have eaten my lapboard. My portable desk splattered with graffiti ramblings, notes and scribbles penned over the years with whatever occupied my writings or analyses. Three and a half decades imprinted on the rough, splintering, unvarnished wood held together by clear packing tape.

My lapboard not only indelibly recounts the story of my adult life, but frames the evolution of the writing implement at the latter part of the twentieth century. Who knew that my lowly lapboard hidden on the dusty floor under my Queen Anne slant front desk would chronicle the history of assorted and sundry pens, pencils and markers while memorializing events, pop stars ... even autographs and missives from former loves? A veritable Rosetta stone.

Bic ballpoints blob faded purplish-blue ink in pop art lettering the names of pets, years lived in various towns across the country, telephone numbers of plumbers and friends forgotten. Extra fine Pilot Razor Points tallied broadcast deals funded replete with debt-equity ratios. Pentel .5mm mechanical pencil lead with removable end caps doodled calculations hastily.

Vestiges of a life lived. Not unlike the bits of paper piled into neat categories on my dining table. Recorded moments in time. The story detailed. An accounting.

An accounting! Geesh. I haven't strayed far. Finish the tax prep already!

Cheers, if you are not snoozing! Apologies, if you are.


  1. You've done it. You've described it so well I can almost see it. I never thought I'd envy the journey of a lapboard but yours clearly has seen some fine times.