“He’d tell us, ‘Now, 20 rows down, the accounting’s hard as granite — it’s the hardest thing an office man can stand,'” said Huddie Ledbetter, one of Peters’ former trainees, “‘but you keep your pencil sharp, and you keep your pencil working. It’s the life of a numbers-crunchin’ man.'”
Sources say Peters, who was born to poor temp workers in eastern Virginia, would often go to offices where his mother worked and sit on her knee. According to his family, he once took up her pencil and said, “Pencil be the death of me. Oh, Mommy, this pencil be the death of me.” —Modern-Day John Henry Dies Trying To Out-Spreadsheet Excel 11.0 (The Onion (Satire))
Brilliant. Utterly brilliant.
“The Excel spreadsheet started off to working, with its hourglass running hard there on the screen,” Broonzy said. “But old Wally Peters had his pencil filling columns, throwing graphite off like locomotive steam.”