THE TECHNICAL WRITER’S BAD DAY.

Technical writers are unappreciated for most of their careers, but the corollary to that lack of appreciation is a lack of interference. They spend most of the day doing a thankless job that no one cares about, and thus they work in peace.

But sometimes a marketer suddenly pops into the room and declares that there is a Requirement. This ruins the technical writer’s day.

We can tell that this is just what happened about seventy years ago to the poor unnamed technical writer who was working on the instruction manual for the Smith-Corona line of portable typewriters. Everything was going well, and the work was easy and pleasant. And then came the marketer with a Requirement.

“There has to be a section about our newly designed space bar.”

“Space bar?” says the writer. “It makes spaces! What in blazes am I going to tell them about a space bar?”

And the marketer says, “You’re the writer. That’s what you get paid for.”

Under the circumstances, the writer did about as well as we could expect:

Space Bar (Fig. 8)

The space bar is a very important part of your keyboard. But first notice how beautifully it blends into the general contours of the machine instead of sticking out like a necessary evil. Here again you have the latest plastic engineering. Do not forget the all important stroke on the space bar for that space so necessary between each word.