I have a beautiful, old, writing desk I use all day every day.

Notice I said “writing desk” and not “computer desk” because there’s a big, scarring, difference between the two that you shall soon learn.


A writing desk, I have learned, is for longhand compositions — and for piling large mountains of papers and for stacking folders on the edge of avalanching.

A computer desk is lower than a writing desk, it is more condensed, and you type on it as the mission of its function.

Before I had my computer desk, I made the error of putting my computer stuff on my writing desk and that was a decision I still look back on and wonder upon today:  Why, oh why?

A writing desk, I learned, it a little too high to comfortably type on because the center drawer bangs against your thighs and presses your entire body away from the keyboard.

A computer desk has no drawers.

Several years ago, I bought one of those fancy and, new-at-the-time, gel mousepads that I plunked down on my writing desk in the humid dead of an East Coast Summer.

Years later, when I decided to move my computer stuff to my new computer desk, the gel mousepad refused to leave the writing desk.

Not one to take any snippiness from my technology, I grabbed the mousepad by its decomposing gel edge ears and ripped it away from my ancient writing desk!

The mousepad droppings left behind were composed of a primordial ooze of decomposing gel and a watery patina of what used to be my lacquer finish and raw, exposed, wood.

My gel mousepad ate away my writing desk!

My anger immediately turned to dismay as I realized the ancient finish on my writing desk was finished with a permanent gel marring the facade.

Many years have passed since that episode and that gel residue — my wood scar — is still there, deep and growling back at me.

I haven’t been able to find an appropriate salve for the exposed wood.  Anything I use to try to remove the damage only increases the damage.

Now I use that scar as my hated space. If I have a hot coffee cup with no coaster in sight, the cup goes on the scar.  Is my water glass weeping sweat?  Onto the scar it goes.  Are my fingers sticky from placating a runny nose without a tissue?  Wipe them on the scar.

Slowly, the scar is taking on some character and shading as I pick at it every day.

If a scar is never allowed to heal, are we ever allowed to forget its creation?

I suppose that’s my secret hope — to keep that scar living and raw until a proper wood surgeon can be found to restore the entire desktop and heal the tree of me that a rogue mousepad, and a faraway mind, failed to protect from infection.

4 Comments

  1. Hi David,
    The table has a vintage flavor!
    I wish you get a wood surgeon to get the scar healed up.
    The vintage and the ultra-tech has a gelling problem for sure!

  2. Thanks for the support, Katha. It seems there’s no way to just fix the scar — the whole top of the desk has to be stripped to match the scar and then re-finish the whole thing as one. What a mess!