Gretchen Rubin

A key to happiness: ASK FOR HELP. Why? Because other people can help you solve your problems. Amazing.

I was so, so, so annoyed. The “t” key on my laptop was sticking. Turns out that the letter “t” comes up a lot in writing.

At first, I pretended it wasn’t happening.

Then I told myself it would go away after I’d turned the laptop on and off a few times.

Then I tried to pretend that it would fix itself if I just kept typing.

Then I was plunged into gloom, imagining the effort and expense it was going to take to replace the key, or the whole keyboard – or, I feared, the laptop itself. Surely not. But I couldn’t continue without a workable “t.”

At last, I remembered one of my most useful Secrets of Adulthood (see left column): “It’s okay to ask for help.”

I emailed a friend who knows a huge amount about computers to ask -- why was my “t” sticking? Was there anything I could do to fix it? Was I going to have to replace the key or keyboard?

He answered: “Turn off the laptop, then rub the keyboard with washcloth dampened with warm water and a little soap. Let it dry. See if that helps.”

Could it really be so simple? YES.

That was all it took to fix the “t.”

Zoikes, that made me happy. Samuel Johnson observed, "To live in perpetual want of little things is a state, not indeed of torture, but of constant vexation.” Wanting that "t" was pure vexation, and bliss to get it back.

Now I have a new appreciation for my beloved, sturdy, reliable laptop. I won’t take it for granted – at least for a few days. And I fixed it MYSELF -- after I asked for help.

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A blog I discovered through LifeRemix is LifeClever, though I'm surprised I hadn't found it before. It's just the kind of mix of tips and information about work and life that I love -- with a strong theme on design, which is a subject that I always want to learn more about.

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