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England, January 29, 2001

ISO: The Keys to Happiness

Don't laugh too hard or milk will come out of your nose too!

Now ya gotta ask yourself: whose the tea drinker in this house?
Ai-ya! Get a towel quick!
hard to argue with free pizza!
Delicate 'W' key negotiations

Now I don't often ask much of you via my updates, preferring to beg for favors more personally than this, but today I have a special problem.

Last night, in reaction to spilled tea, someone tried to dry Jingmei's laptop keyboard by putting a lamp near the keys. Now I'm not gonna elaborate on how tea came to be sloshing across the keyboard, or whose brilliant idea it was to put a heat source so close to soft plastic, for WWIII in the close confines of Jingmei's dorm room would not be pretty. Lets just say it happened.

This morning I spent a few hours on hold with several different IBM call centers trying to track down replacements for the now-melted keys. With suggestions to buy a whole new keyboard or laptop I gave up on that boatload of fools to look elsewhere, which is where you come in.

I'm in need of the 2, 3, Q, W, E, A, S, and spacebar keys that fit a 390x IBM Thinkpad. If you happen to have a junked laptop, or you need an excuse to torment your coworkers/boss/ex-lover, and the back of the keys has '1C-NB' stamped on them in tiny letters (the keys' model number), would you grab a few for me?

I'll be happy to pay for any shipping costs, though if you get slapped/fired/spanked in the process I will deny any responsibility. Oh, and I don't seem to be alone in my search for keys

The Washington Post, January 23, 2001

The Purloined Letter

By Lloyd Grove, Washington Post Staff Writer

Incoming staffers of the Bush White House are apparently victims of a practical joke perpetrated by their predecessors. Bush aides settling into the Old Executive Office Building have discovered that many computer keyboards in their work-spaces are missing the W key -- as in President Bush's middle initial.

'There are dozens, if not hundreds, of keyboards with these missing keys,' a White House aide told us yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity to confirm reports from two Republican sources. 'In some cases the W is marked out, but the most prevalent example is the key being removed. In some cases the W keys have been taped on top of the doorways, which are 12 feet tall. In other cases the key is just damaged, with the spring broken or removed.'

The Bush aide added that the damaged keyboards are being found 'in any number of different offices and divisions at the Old EOB. It has the technical and computer support people very busy. They already have quite a lot to do. I don't believe they expected to be coping with this as well. I think they're working to repair or replace the equipment, whatever they can do.'

Our efforts to reach former staffers of Al Gore and Bill Clinton were mostly unsuccessful yesterday, but Gore campaign press secretary Chris Lehane, tongue in cheek, fielded our request for an explanation: 'My guess is that the White House did not have many reasons to use the letter W over the last couple of years. It's possible they just fell off because of sheer atrophy.' Lehane added: 'I think the missing W's can be explained by the vast left-wing conspiracy now at work.'

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