Today, for what must be the thousandth time, I repeated a dark pattern on my PC at home. I had a Dell keyboard that survived several eras of my own personal computing history: it wrote my thesis, took countless tours in fantastic worlds, and… tweeted a lot. But long before I replaced it, the left control button stopped working. And instead of learning how to perform the essential Windows shortcuts with the other control key — you know, all the way on the other side of the keyboard — I adapted. Instead of pressing “control + c” and “control + v” to copy and paste, I found it was faster to right-click on text with my mouse and work with it that way.
But the habit didn’t go away when I got a new keyboard last year. After so many misfires with my old keyboard, it was almost as if my tiniest digit grew afraid of that broken control key. I finally became aware of this weird situation today when I noticed my finger dangling like a sad T-Rex arm, lacking the confidence to ready itself for action. The behavior became so familiar that it just coasted below my awareness.
I’m willing to bet you have some weird behaviors, too. Do you have a strange smartphone ritual? A bizarre tablet habit? Let us know.
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