It finally happened: I converted from WordPerfect to Word. Like my father, I was an early-adopter-never-let-goer. I first worked on a commercial word processing program in Taiwan in 1984, when I was a translator at Lee & Li and learned the proprietary Wang word processing system. (IIRC, Swarthmore in 1983 had a student-created system available on terminals in the computer center. It was a huge improvement over my Smith-Corona and Wite-Out strips, and I wrote my thesis on it when I could reserve time. Still didn’t top my Dad’s late 1970s adoption — and never-let-go-tion — of the Lexitron.)
I came back from Taiwan to go to law school in 1985 and acquired the then top-of-the-line approximately-the-size-of-a-lawnmower IBM PC. I had heard that a program called MultiMate mimicked the Wang program, so I was determined to buy and install it. My mother — thanks, Mom! — talked me out of that and into WordPerfect. Thus began a 29-year relationship that only ended this year with my inevitable assimilation to the Borg: Microsoft Word.
Top reasons for assimilation:
4. Annoyed co-counsel (“the formatting in the Word version is all effed up!”)
3. Awkward emails to opposing counsel (“we draft in WordPerfect, but send us your changes on the pdf version and we’ll incorporate them”).
2. Track changes!!!!
But my favorite feature is
1. Comment boxes.
I started using them as they are supposed to be used: to expound on tracked changes or make a general comment on a section of text. Now they’ve become sort of like “The Word” in the Colbert Report:
a way of letting my id come out while drafting a brief, one that entertains me as I write but that is easy to delete and sanitize before I file.