Warning: someone may be monkeying with you


A while back I wrote about a quotation on my post-post-publication page by Truman Capote, “That’s not writing at all, that’s typing.” He said that about Jack Kerouac’s book On the Road, and he meant it as a slur.

Apparently this quote has appeared on other blogger’s pages as well, one of many randomly generated quotations about writing. So, it wasn’t meant personally.

However, no slight, real or imagined, is too small for me to take notice of, worry about, mope about, or whine about. It’s what I do.

And then, I had an epiphany, which sounds like a medical procedure, but isn’t. (I’ll tell you, Gertie, I don’t know why I waited so long to have that epiphany. I can see so much better now. It didn’t hurt a bit.)

Yearstricken hitting random keys for her blog (picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

Without knowing it, Capote was rephrasing the Infinite Monkey Theorem, which states that “a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.”

When I read that, I suddenly knew what light through yonder window breaks. And it isn’t Juliet, Romeo. It is the light from the computer screen of the Infinite Monkey. Let me break it down for you:

  • I hit keys at random on my computer every day.
  • I spend an infinite amount of time hitting those keys.
  • I like bananas.

Forsooth, I may have to change the name of my blog to Infinite Monkey. And you might, too, although it would be confusing if we all used that name. My point is that there are probably millions of us hitting random keys all day long.

According to my imagination, it’s highly probable that WordPress is run by a bunch of scientists who are testing out the Infinite Monkey Theorem. It’s not for nothing that your year-end statistics were brought to you by monkeys, right?

After you get over your alarm, I hope this encourages you. The next time someone reads some of your stuff and says, “Well, it ain’t Shakespeare,” you can answer, “Not yet, friend, not yet, but one of these days.”