Armed with her advice, I went to Best Buy to try to obtain a new keyboard for my laptop. No can do. The kid in the geek suit informed me that I would have to pay $35 up front and send my computer off for several weeks in order to get a QUOTE for repair. Or I could order the part online, myself. Or, I could just buy a plug-and-play keyboard. I was astounded. Why would anyone go to a store that provides such poor service? I can get advice this good at Walmart.
So I went to Walmart and bought a ten-dollar keyboard, and I'm up and running again. It's not ideal, but it buys me time. Given the age and slowly developing quirks of my laptop, I probably just need to buy a new one. But that's a major purchase and I haven't given it any thought. I guess this external keyboard will splint me for a couple days while I cogitate upon the possibilities.