Eddie is a funny chap. Obviously intellectually gifted, he got a double-first in Anatolian History and Woodwork and then came back to this benighted place and spent the next forty years simmering in a stew of intellectual frustration and bitterness first at Catty and then at Helminthdale General Library. Why? No idea. I do mourn his passing: he was the wake-up call for the likes of me: this is what happens if you stay here too long.
I shan't miss the crash, crash, crash of his typing. He went through twelve keyboards in six months, complaining bitterly that no matter what he typed it came out as gibberish (a lucrative career as a Booker Prize novelist sadly neglected). What I never told him was that there were only three keyboards: the one from his PC, the one from the secretary's PC and a spare one that had a broken tilde/hash key. He would first complain about his keyboard, which I would swap with the secretary's. The secretary never had any problems with either keyboard, and she did considerably more typing. At some point within the next couple of weeks he'd decide that this keyboard was hopeless too. At which point I'd give him the broken keyboard. The defect shouldn't have affected him as there was nothing that he was doing that needed either a tilde or a hash to be typed. He'd be happy with this for a week or two and then start complaining to anyone but me. A couple of the staff had been primed to wander over to the keyboard, press the tilde/hash key, tut and say: "ooh yes, I should tell him about that." "I can't be bothered now," Eddie would say in a huff. I'd get to hear about this some time in the two days between this part of the performance and his coming to complain to me. The evening before I thought he'd be coming, I'd swap his keyboard back to his original one and change his settings to US keyboard. When he came in to complain, I'd try and type a pound sign, suck my teeth, go into Windows Control Panel, change to UK keyboard, come out and type all the characters correctly.
"I don't understand it. You usually only get that when you've downloaded a cookie from an e-commerce site and that wouldn't be happening here."
Eddie would say nothing. We all knew he spent most afternoons on eBay.
Keyboard complaints would be few for the next six or eight weeks and then the cycle would begin again.