The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
A Dirty Keyboard Filled With Everything
When I arrived at my office job on the first day, almost everything seemed new. The job supplied me with a 20 inch monitor, a laptop docking station, great speakers, and good bass headphones, and even a mouse and keyboard. I thought everything was brand new until I looked into the keyboard, and noticed that it was just dirty. Was this from me? I was new and had hardly touched this keyboard. I requested a new keyboard, but unfortunately, my request was denied, and I was told this was the keyboard I was to use.
Several months went by and I got away with wiping my keyboard down with Lysol Wipes that magically appeared one day in every corner of the office. I would take a plastic fork and a wipe and get in between the keys. This did well for quite some time, and as clean as my desk looked after I wiped everything down everyday, I still always felt that it was dirty; in part, because of the keyboard. Inside, I could see dust, dirt, and what was probably food from snacks that either I or someone else at one time or another had eaten.
I kept putting it off, knowing full well that I could just pop out the keys, clean them individually, and the keyboard itself, that is, whatever was under those keys. Work was constantly busy and I just never had the time to really pop out those keys and give it a thorough cleaning. It was never a far thought from my mind though to get this dirty keyboard cleaned.
Finally, one day I just decided I would do it. I entered work and told my co-workers to handle the assignments coming in for at least the next 10 to 15 minutes, which I assumed they would. I took a sticky note and quickly jotted down the exact keys, though I knew what keys were what and where they were, having taken a typing class in high school and over 15 years of experience typing on a keyboard. I no longer even need to see the keys to know where they are and I do type at a speed of about 100 words per minute. I popped out each key without any issues.
My boss walked by and saw what I was doing and I quickly explained that it was time that my keyboard get cleaned, which had never received a thorough cleaning and was not a brand new keyboard to begin with. She took one look and got very disgusted, realizing that it was not just my dead skin cells and food stuck inside that keyboard, but it really had been a keyboard typed on by many hands before me, and most likely was never ever cleaned in all of its lifespan.
She went and got a can of air spray from her office and tried to assist me in cleaning it. Dust, dirt, and food never budged. She walked away and left me to complete my mission. The keys lay across my desk and the keyboard was an empty panel. I took a Lysol wipe and began to wipe it down, scrubbing as best as I could, getting all the crust and dirt off of that keyboard.
After about 10 minutes, I finally felt confident enough to begin cleaning each key individually and put them back inside the keyboard. The assignments began to pile up and a co-worker asked if I was almost done. I knew I still was going to be a while before I had all those keys cleaned and inside the keyboard. Hopefully, the keyboard would still work after I was done.
I became nervous and started dropping some keys and some keys even seemed to spring up and shot across the room when I tried to press them inside the keyboard. Some keys dropped to the floor, and I think some were lost, but I kept at it, as to be on schedule, cleaning and pressing them in one by one. The work load kept piling up and I was getting closer and closer to getting all the keys back in, when I realized, I was missing the V key, the S key, the F key, the C key, and the L key.
Where could they be? Some dropped to the floor… there it was! The F and S keys! Pop! Pop!
I quickly asked a co-worker to handle the two tasks that were assigned to me, as there was a deadline of 10 minutes to get those in. I explained to her that I was missing keys and I had to use the end of the plastic fork I kept in my drawer to hit the C and V keys to tell her which keys I was missing. She sat on the other side of the room, laughing hysterically, as I panicked to find the missing keys. I had work to do and I couldn’t do it because I needed to have a complete keyboard!
I did not want to think about what would happen if I could not find them. I am OCD enough as it is and the dirty keyboard bothered me for so long. I was going to find those keys before I did any type of work!
I got up and walked a few feet behind my chair. There! The C key was faded so it looked like an O, but the O key was already in place, so I cleaned it and pressed it in. The L key had popped up across the room somehow as well. I put that back in.
Now I was missing an essential key, the V key, because I needed to copy and paste something and I could not do it! There was no way I was going to type it all out. Where was this key? I scrambled around the room looking for it. I had seen it fall earlier. Where was it? I moved a few chairs around, and then finally, it had somehow managed to roll – yes, roll – under another co-worker’s cubicle under his desk who sat in front of me.
I popped back in the final key and took a glance at my beautiful brand new-looking keyboard. It was good as new. Perfect with the streaks of cleanliness. This is what I wanted to work with! A nice clean keyboard that I knew would only be filled with my dead skin cells and my food crumbs! But hopefully, I will not let it get to that point.
So as I happily sat there, with a clean keyboard, I wondered something that most of us never think about: How many of my co-workers are typing on dirty keyboards, loaded with dead skin cells and food crumbs, and do not even give it a second thought or attempt to clean the keys ever? Well, I am not offering to clean anyone else’s keyboards, but I’m glad mine is clean. Maybe it is time for you to clean your keyboard.