Word Is The Word! — Humor from Eli Burnstein in The New Yorker.
Bold and italics are the oils that grace my palette. Cut and paste the strings upon my lyre. Fonts, bullets, columns, indentations—these stubborn materials are no match for the alchemy with which I extract meaning and impose order. For I am proficient in Microsoft Word.
Many are the candidates who come touting their areas of expertise—beginner Spanish, ability to work well under pressure—but none compare to the fluency with which I insert links and align text, add comments and reply to the comments left by others.
When others navigate a .docx, they are like babes lost in the woods. Ask them to wrap text around an image and watch them get stuck in the advanced-layout brambles. Invite them to open an attachment in compatibility mode and watch them fall down a well of version-control despair.
From Windows 95 all the way to 365 Premium, Word has been my parent, my guide, and at times my lover on this journey we call life. My first Valentine’s Day card, for instance, I styled using WordArt, stretching and bevelling and drop-shadowing to new romantic heights. Spell-check and grammar-check carried me through my first book report, with Clippy cheerleading from the sidelines. And how do you think I made this pert little cover letter? By using a template—or, as I like to call it, one of Bill’s greatest hits.
Beyond my disquieting grasp of Word, I am also competent in the broader Microsoft Office suite. Excel’s boundless rectangles yield themselves to my whim as I sort columns and freeze rows like a rational demigod. PowerPoint drapes me in the confidence to tell my story, one majestic fade, wipe, and/or peel at a time. And Outlook I’ve used once or twice.
But only with Word can I claim “proficiency” in the sense of “skilled in doing something to a high degree,” a definition I found using Word’s Smart Lookup feature (which is powered by the world’s greatest search engine, Bing).
In short, I am proficient in Microsoft Word, and I offer my services to your company at your earliest convenience.
Word has made me the writer that I am today. I started out on my own from a Smith-Corona clone from Sears, graduated to a Smith-Corona electric, then a used IBM Selectric, and then AppleWorks on an Apple IIc. But then — ta da! — Microsoft Word. Spell Check and red wigglers, Clippie and photo insert. Templates and Print to PDF. Plays and novels and blog posts!
I’m writing the same old sentimental crap, but at least it looks good.