Every key on the typewriter is needed

A man had a typewriter with one bad key. All the other keys worked perfectly, however, and the man said:
“What if onx kxy on my typxwritxr doxsn’t work. All thx othxr kxys work pxrfxctly. And my lxttxrs arx still vxry rxadablx. The absxnce of that onx kxy won’t makx or brxak mx. Who rxally nxxds it?”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with “x” as a letter. But it does very poorly as a replacement for “e.”
The man with the typewriter would soon learn that his friends found him unintelligible and his customers were all taking their business elsewhere.
He would soon learn that one typewriter key does indeed make a difference. And no other key will ever substitute for it.
What’s true of keys on a typewriter is even more true of people.
Sometimes people this side of 60 are tempted to think like the man with the one bad typewriter key. You’ve heard them say, “I’m not really needed any more. There are younger people who can take over. I’ve had my day.”
Such talk should be illegal. There should be a law that anyone who uses society’s resources should be required to make a contribution.
Such legislation would protect society from able-bodied persons who, because of their age or some other imagined handicap, assume they qualify for a free ride.
But even more important, it would free such persons from the terrible
sentence of feeling unneeded and worthless.
It simply isn’t true that anyone is not needed. To run a world, or a country, or a community or a home, the contribution of every single person is essential.
What’s more, not only do we need the contribution of every single person, but we need the unique contribution of each particular person.
Think about that missing typewriter key for a minute. If you look at the second paragraph of this column again, you may have trouble reading it, but eventually you can figure it out.
After all, it’s only the “e” that’s missing.
But just imagine if the “a” should say, “If the ‘e’ doesn’t have to make a contribution, why should I?”
And then imagine all of the other keys except the “x” abdicating their
responsibility. Xxx xx xxxx xxx xxxxx xxx x xxxx.
Who would even pretend to be able to read that gibberish? No, it would send the typewriter straight to the junkyard.
It’s no different in society. The world is not made up of “x’s” alone and no matter how diligent it would be, the “x” key could never do the whole job.
So if you’re ever tempted to use being this side of 60 as an excuse for not making a contribution, think twice about it. It’s unfair to expect society to manage without your talents and years of experience.
Even more important, you really shouldn’t have to live with the guilt of
having failed to use the final third of your life to make the world a better place to live.
You may be only one key on the typewriter of life but you are one key. And if you don’t do your part, no other key can do it for you.

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