Life Has No “Undo”

Computers are wonderful inventions — when they are working right at least! And one of the most wonderful things computers have given us is the “Undo” button. I use it all the time when I’m working in art programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. It’s so easy to mess up a brush stroke, or delete something I didn’t mean to, but the Undo command comes to my rescue every time. If I made these mistakes on paper, they would not be as easy to correct, if I could do it at all!

Image from:

Image from: FreeImagesLive

As the virtual reality of computers has become a larger and larger portion of our lives, I believe we have started to take for granted the Undo function of that virtual universe and forget that life has no “Undo” feature.

Our actions in the real world cannot be undone. Words can never be unsaid. We can apologize or regret;  the result, however, is not an erasure, but a bandage. The original action or speech never goes away.

I consider this concept every time I hear about events like last week’s horrific bombings in Boston, or the tragedy in Newtown, CT. The lives lost can never be recovered like a mistaken deletion. Wounds cannot be erased with a keystroke. Families will not be healed by copy and paste. How could anyone perpetrate such acts if they had these ideas in mind?

I wonder if young Mr. Tsarnaev wished for an Undo key as he lay bleeding in that boat before his arrest. I doubt we’ll ever know.

Perhaps this is why I write fantasy stories about people with magical powers, and science fiction stories of time travel. Deep inside, I long for the ability to Undo. Until we can bend the universe to our will, the best we can do is think before we act or speak. Consider the consequences of our words and actions before we unleash them. If we can achieve a higher level of self control, I believe the world would be a better place. There have been plenty of things I wish I could Undo, but I am doing my best every day to minimize them!

What do you think? Is there anything you wish you could Undo? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


About Alan Tucker

Writer, Dad, Graphic Designer, Soccer Coach … not necessarily in that order!

Posted on April 21, 2013, in Random/Rants, Your Voice Matters and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Love the concept of everyone having a Control Z button, Alan! Then again, if we don’t make mistakes, how would we learn anything? Food for thought, no matter how bad it can get! Cheers, buddy!

  2. Agreed, we are who we are because of mistakes. Thanks for commenting, Sharon! Best to you!

  3. Despite mistakes I’ve made, I know they all served a purpose so undoing them would be counterproductive. I do understand and share the desire to undo tragic events though. I too escape into writing fantasy where reality can be altered with the power of magic.

  4. This is so true, Alan. There have been so many times that I not only wished for a undo button, but a caps and exclamation point button as well! But all in all, I’m a strong believer in the mistakes that we make are needed for us to grow and evolve. But when it comes to tragedies like in Boston, I don’t think anyone would have any complaints about a big undo button that we could’ve pushed.

    • I think the big difference comes in those mistakes we make that affect others deeply in a negative way. Those are the ones I’d like to “undo”. If I screw up and hurt myself somehow, well, that’s just part of life. Thanks for your thoughts ck!

  5. Well said, Alan. I’ve wondered the same thing about Tsarnaev.

  6. Damn straight… there IS no undo… no ctrl-alt-delete… I wish people were taught this from a young age these days. It doesn’t happen, I’m sad to say.

  7. Alan what a great post. It’s so very true. One can only imagine what was going through that kid’s mind to be so misguided as to follow his brother into his new reality… Tragic. Thanks for the post. Awesome truth.

  8. What a profound thought… and yet very real, and very true… for so many in and around the Boston tragedy, sadly — thank you for the perspective Alan.

  9. Very good points Alan and commentors. I would gladly undo things I have said that hurt someone else but am greatful for the lessons I have learned from doing or saying something dumb that only affected me.

  10. Thanks again to everyone for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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