KEYBOARDS….James Fallows tells us about his computer:

This spring I bought a new laptop, as I end up doing every two years or so. By that time, the older one is showing its road wear, after being hammered on and toted around all day, every day. Defective pixels start to pock the screen. Half the keys on the keyboard have had their lettering worn off, the N always first to go….

OK, stop right there. Why is the N key always the first to go? It’s the same for me, but I can’t figure out why. The home row keys obviously get touched a lot more and there are other keys that get pressed more often (N is only the sixth most frequently used letter in the English language.) Does it have something to do with my right index finger, the finger that us touch typists use to press the N key? Maybe: the M usually takes a beating too, and it’s a right index finger key. On the other hand, H is nearly as frequently used as N and way more frequently used than M, but I never have any problems with it.

Another thought: it has something to do with N and M being on the lower row of the keyboard. The letter decals are at the top of the key, so my fingers actually brush the decals more on the lower row keys than any other. But then, what about C? It’s on the lower row, it’s more frequently used than M, but it never shows any wear.

I’m stumped. Anyone know what’s going on?