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One of the best things about playing Candy Land (Yes, I played it recently.

College students can do whatever they want.) is the possibility that you might
land on a shortcut cube at any moment, bypassing a long portion of the rainbow
trail to the finish.

We all want shortcuts to get ahead. We want things to be easier and our quests to
be simpler. I once found a way to take shortcuts with me in real life too. I
purchased a wireless keyboard online and I took it everywhere I went.

Whenever I needed to "enhance" my life, I just attached my fingers to the keys of

that magical wireless keyboard and whipped out a keyboard shortcut, one of those
dandy key combinations that helps you multitask faster than your co-workers.

One day I went into a job interview. It was one of those times when I usually hold
down the Control button plus the letter "B." The result is a sense of boldness.
I'll stride in, shake as many hands as I need to and wrap my palm around the first
rung on the ladder to the top.

During Day 23 on the job something tremendous happened. After being promoted to
the position of general overseer on the senior executive management level, the
corporate president told me that I was the most highly-valued employee at the

What a perfect place to copy and paste.

Without hesitation I withdrew my keyboard from the filing cabinet I had hidden it
in and I mashed the Control and "C" buttons as quickly as I could.

The next day, while I was sitting in my office, feet lazily propped on my
Cherrywood desk, I set my keyboard in front of me with a grin and pressed the
Control and "V" buttons, evoking the paste shortcut.

Before my fingers left the keys there was a knock at the door. A moment later the
president again had his arm around me, informing me that I was the most highly-
valued employee at the company.

This pattern continued on for a few more weeks until I eventually grew tired of
the repeated bragging.

On day 54 I had been working hard for several hours when I realized the clock had
moved on into my lunch break without me. Hastily I filed the documents sitting on
my desk and I dashed across the office to the mini-fridge (strategically placed
next to the mini-toaster and mini-dishwasher) where I kept my orange juice and

I opened the door, expectation alone nearly killing me, to find that the system
had frozen. The orange juice was a popsicle and the tuna a rock.

I rushed back to my desk, drew my keyboard nigh, and thrust my fingertips into the
awkward, twisted position of Control-Alt-Delete. After a minute my mini-fridge
restarted, and everything was back to normal, not at all in the frozen state I had
found it in just moments before.

But with all of the clutter that had accumulated in my refrigerator it was hard to
spot the brown paper sack my day 54 lunch was in. Piles of rubbish stood between
me and my lunch.

That rubbish was the inspiration to test the "find" command on my wireless
keyboard. With my thumb on the control key and my forefinger on the "F," I typed
in "lunch" with the remaining fingers on my right hand.

By the time I looked back at the mini-fridge, my senior executive sandwich was at
the forefront, highlighted in an orange plastic baggie.

After lunch, the president returned to my office (not because of my doing, but
because, as he put it, I'm "a man worth investing in.").

The conversation had gone swimmingly through the first half hour, talk consisted
of acquisitions and mergers and state requirements, all of the small stuff.
Effortlessly I showed him all of the documents I had saved (thanks to Control-S)
in my file cabinet and the president commended me on my organization techniques.

Then came the dreaded question. The question all employees hesitate to hear and
are anxious to answer. The corporate president pointed to the crumbs littering the
surface of my desk and asked what I had for lunch.

I stood up while quietly and quickly brushing any remnant of tuna sandwich off of
my knees, and nervously stretched out my hand to shake his while stammering what I
thought might be the correct thing to say.

As he glared at my outstretched limb I briskly took a step backwards, tripping

over the foot of my deluxe businessman chair, falling backward, hitting my head on
the third-floor glass window in just enough time to see the chair spin around at
such a speed to strike my cheekbone and plow me into the carpet, which,
coincidentally was just red enough to disguise any blood spilt in the process.

Thankfully my senses had stayed with me like a sailor roped to his sinking ship.

In a flash I reached up to the keyboard on my desk and, feeling out the keys like
a blind man, I mashed the Control and "Z" buttons in unison.

Instantly, the chair spun back to its original position and the scar on my cheek
disappeared as my head lay once again on the edge of the window.

The "undo" command had only erased the final action of the fall. I pressed it
again, pressuring the keyboard with what strength I had left in my fingers.

In a trice I found myself plowing back into the carpet, the chair having swung at
me in full-force.

Again, I reached up to undo. Again, my head plopped onto the sill, bruised by the

Finally, I did the only thing I could. Mustering any brawn in my bones, I stood up
covered with humiliation, stole one glance of the president's horrified face, and
employed the "quit" command on the keyboard.

Nothing happened. I looked up; the president's face was still hung in disbelief.
Again, I pressed the Control and "Q" buttons but to no avail.

Peeking out of the corner of my eye at the hourglass figurine on the corner of my
Cherrywood desk, I noticed sand pouring downward.

After three minutes of waiting to quit, I brought out the big gun. Figuratively.
In one graceful swoop I pushed the command, option and escape buttons to force
Astonishingly, the hourglass fell to the floor and rolled out of sight. I looked
straight into the eyes of the corporate president and with more force behind my
fist than anything else, I hooked him in the jaw and, teeth grit and pupils
piercing, said "I quit."

In retrospect, maybe using shortcuts in life, on the keyboard or in Candy Land,

isn't such a great idea. A week later I donated the wireless keyboard to the
thrift mart, confident I would never again feel the temptation. However, when the
product inspector grasped the object, he looked at me with disgust.

"There's no battery," he said with a snarl. And so there wasn't.

-By Harrison Keely