Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer
Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer Brenda Strong GLA170212GREG

This was far from the typical letter

FOLKS, recently I received a letter from an old mate, a pleasant change from the usual mail we get from 'Mr Final Demand'.

'Well, whoop-de-doo!' you're probably thinking. But actually, it is a big deal, because the letter was written by a bloke with one arm. And when I say written, I mean handwritten, and that, dear reader, is something worth writing home about.

You try writing a letter with one arm tied behind your back.

I first met my single-winged mate years ago in high school. Originally he was known as Tripod, which was a bit tactless, so we eventually re-nicknamed him Bandit (as in one armed bandit) and he still answers to that today.

Now, back then, we handwrote everything, and if you've never handwritten a 1000 word essay in the heat of an Australian summer then count yourself lucky.

Generally, what we'd end up submitting was crumpled, sweat-soaked papers, covered in smudged handwriting which got steadily worse as our hands cramped up.

As soon as I could, I learned to type, but unfortunately for Bandit, typing was like knitting and canoeing, almost impossible with one arm.

These days he owns a computer, but it's still quicker for him to handwrite his dispatches. And in this age where handwriting, fountain pens, faxes and doing sums in your head are facing extinction, it's nice to know that somewhere in Oz, a one-armed man is still doggedly scribbling letters, one painstaking, ink-smeared page at a time.

I've tried handwriting a letter back to him, but sadly my penmanship has deteriorated to the point where even I'm struggling to read it. So, for now, good ol' Bandit will just have to put up with my computer generated correspondence.

Still, I can't see him wringing his hands together about that.


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