Doing Over (that’s what erasers are for)


I used to have an electric typewriter that came with a built in eraser, and I used that eraser so much I had to replace it more often than the ink or paper. When that got too expensive, white-out became my eraser of choice. Then they invented these correction tape thingamajigs, and I thought my worries were finally over. Of course, computers would end up making all of these stone age doing over devices obsolete.

I’m not sure which was stronger, my desire to write, or my desire to write a perfect, mistake free page. In any case, I ended up with many one page novels, riddled and caked with corrections as they were. And they still weren’t perfect.

Back in the day, I liked to draw with pencil and paper. An art teacher once told me not to be afraid of making mistakes while drawing, because that’s what erasers are for. But I hated the erasers on no. 2 pencils. Then I discovered kneaded erasers, which is something like a mix between silly putty and play-doh. These erasers picked up all manner of debris, anything from pocket lint to cat hair, and were of questionable hygiene, but they allowed me to gradually erase parts of a drawing. I was able to keep reworking a drawing until it was made up of hundreds of ghost-like traces of my initial idea. I wish memories worked that way.

Some people say there are no do-overs in life, while others say life is nothing but a series of do-overs. Who knows? Maybe God is a perfectionist with a cosmic eraser.


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