Pondering a standard computer keyboard. There’s a large number of small square keys, a much smaller number of slightly larger keys, and one significantly large, elongated key located in the center of the bottom row. We know it. Really no need to mention the name, but I have to….not doing so would render the purpose of this post useless. So, here it is: the space bar.
Odd it is the largest key. Only explanation for the size I figure, is a functional use by our thickest digit….I guess…because I don’t really know the engineering behind the design.
I’m a philosophizer, not an engineer. So, when look at a keyboard, I see possibilities beyond asdfjkl..sem (for old school folk)..Simply stated, the space bar is more a metaphor than a mechanical device…in my letter-full mind, anyway.
At present, I am thumbing away on my Samsung 5. Less keys than an old, standard clickety typewriter in a smoke filled press room, but just as functional. With the addition of an emoji option, and the deletion of number and punctuation “pads” (unless I push the arrow to switch to another keyboard), all the standard bubbles and lines exist. I still can write unlimited numbers of words. Therein lies the premise of my post.
Unlimited numbers of words using all the small squares more often than the large one across the bottom – by my estimation an average of six-to-one. Six small squares, the large one, six small, large, six, one, six, space, on….and..on…..and….
Metaphor vs function. We spend so much time and energy on the small stuff – running our thumbs around the small squares. Forming small words. Trying to put together logical sentences….headed into paragraphical forms eventually becoming chapters in our lives. Yes, in order to do this “functionally”, we necessarily must brush the large bar every sixth stroke on average. It has that function: space.
I would argue a larger function: rest. That’s why it is the largest..because it represents the largest key player in our lives. Metaphorically, it is a reminder of the importance of rest. If we don’t stop every six letters or so in our lives, each moment becomes jammed together, non-readable, nonsensical,…nonlivable.
Let us all make an effort to tap the rest bar more often. Make the space functional, livable, and breathable.
Use your words – as we like to say to our kiddos – … use them functionally well. Be precise, disciplined, and clean across the small squares. Write the story of your life … but rest along the way.
QWERTY, ASDFJKL(sem), and all your small key friends will always be at-the-ready. No need to rush.
It is the largest for a reason.