Self-editing is overrated. Or is it?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-NINE!

Have you ever felt like you've spent too much time in front of this computer? Like, for example, when you've been reading this blog for a long time? Well you have nothing on this guy pictured below named Les Stewart, from Mudjimba, Australia.

After 16 years at the typewriter, Les is a millionaire of words. On November 25, 1998, he reached his goal of typing all numbers from one to one million - in words (not numbers) on his manual machine. A regular entrant in the record books since he started his marathon task in 1982 as therapy following an accident and serious illness. Seven manual typewriters, 1000 ink ribbons, 19,890 pages, 16 years and seven months later, he finished with the lines:

nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine. one million.

When asked why he has undertaken this time consuming and repetitious task (when he is not, in fact, a character in Samuel Beckett play), Les says that he has little else to do now that he has been classed as an invalid, and can no longer work. Besides that, Les enjoys typing and used to be a police typing instructor before his sickness which meant his withdrawal from the force. Typing an average three pages a day with one finger since April 1982, Les said his secret was to type for 20 minutes on the hour, every hour.

Les is no newcomer to breaking records: Some years ago he broke the Australian Record of treading water, and then he went on to swim continuously for 30 hours, establishing another Australian record.

When asked why the record books would even record such a record in the first place, a spokesman replied "Are you kidding? Can you imagine how many letters that this guy would have written us by now, trying to harrass us into making this a record? Now we're gonna have to make the 'calling yourself and leaving yourself a voicemail' a new record or we'll never hear the end of it."


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