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December 28, 2008

Don't touch my computer screen, thank you very much


There are two types of people in the world: those who for some reason feel the need to put their oily, grubby index fingertips on my computer screen to point something out to me โ€” and those who don't.

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone other than myself who falls into the second category, which means I'm reduced to seething silently while I watch my pristine screen get soiled and smudged, waiting until the offender has left before getting out a Klear Screen wipe to restore the surface to its prior immaculateness.

I never say anything because 1) by the time I see it happening it's too late to stop it, 2) no one remembers not to do it next time even if I say something, and 3) it's easier to bear the pain myself than share it with the cause.

So if you should happen to stop by one day, go ahead and surprise me by not touching the screen when you reach to show me something.

December 28, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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"I'm reduced to seething silently while I watch my pristine screen..." PRISTINE?! I've seen pics of your work area and 'pristine' is not the first adjective that comes to mind!

Posted by: Pamela Daley | Dec 29, 2008 10:56:53 PM

Lilorfnannie: (Even though I always think of you as Lil), I like the way you think.

Posted by: Miles | Dec 29, 2008 7:55:04 AM

See, they're not remembering not to touch your screen because the punishment for doing so was too mild. You have to up the ante, give them something they will remember. Put an airhorn next to your desk and sound it every time they touch the screen. Or you could get subtle, and make some negative comment or noise every time their hand starts to reach for the screen. Now, if you're willing to do physical contact to get them to remember, the possibilities are endless- give them a good shove, stick a pin in their arm, stomp on their foot, spill coffee on them. (You know I'm kidding with that last part- can't waste good coffee here-)

Do it purely by "accident" but time it for when they touch the screen- the negative association will train them.

You could also get some sort of plexiglass screen on a stand to put in front of your computer- and every time someone comes to consult with you, you stop them immediately first and make a big production of putting up the screen, explaining all the while that it is because people keep touching your screen, etc. They will think you are a loon, but maybe it will make enough of an impression to get them to stop. They might stop consulting with you (yay they are leaving you alone) or they might stop touching so as to avoid the hassle of waiting for you to put up your plexiglass screen. Or the plexiglass screen might give them free license to continue their screen-touching behavior, but at least it is on the plexiglass now- so you still win.

Posted by: Lilorfnannie | Dec 29, 2008 7:51:18 AM

What is ever worse, my friend who will be anonymous other than to call her Lien (Lien if you are reading this STOP IT!!!) -- she licks her finger *BEFORE* she touches my computer screen.

Why of why do you do this?

(If she actually finds this post some day, she knows I still love her...just not the licking the finger and touching my screen!!!!)

Posted by: clifyt | Dec 28, 2008 5:38:23 PM

(First off -- oily, grubby fingertips? What kind of people do you hang around with, anyway? People like me?)

I have heard that in Hell they have hordes of roaming index-finger nose pickers (see note below) who go around and sully the residents' computer screens for fun. I don't have a computer screen fixation, but I keep my car windows immaculate inside and as much as humanly possible outside, and I feel your pain. When someone reaches up to squash an errant bug or wipe off moisture on the windshield before I get the defroster cranked up, I pull over and make a big production out of clean-up, all the while complaining bitterly. I find that this not only keeps them from repeating, it tends to insure that they never ride with me again. Which means I can have the heat up as high, and listen to my opera and Fletcher Henderson CDs as loud, as I want.

(Only amateurs use the index. REAL pickers know pinky is the only way to go.)

Posted by: Flautist | Dec 28, 2008 3:40:23 PM

That was even worse in the days of CRTs, though now that glass-fronted displays are back (in the form of Apples), I guess it's coming back around again. In the late 90s, I had a client named "Jeremy" who did this so habitually that it became known in our shop as "Jeremying a screen." I still find myself using that verb.

Posted by: Waldo Jaquith | Dec 28, 2008 3:28:16 PM

I yell at people all the time for touching my screen, including my boss. He is a great screen toucher. Drives me nuts!!! I hate to have marks on my screen at all. I never touch my screen, so now there are two of us.

Posted by: Diane | Dec 28, 2008 2:50:03 PM

Let's see, no pee-pee spraying, no screen touching... check, check. What else?

Posted by: Milena | Dec 28, 2008 12:31:04 PM

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