TNB Night Owl – Les Stewart, Millionaire

Typewriter, photo by Takashi Hososhima

Usually when people are considered a millionaire it’s because they have a million worth of whatever the base currency is in their home nation. Not Les Stewart, though. He has a million numbers.

The Queensland, Australia man began typing the numbers from one to a million in 1982. He’d been injured in a house fire and rendered unable to work a normal job. He was also rather keen on typing. He decided to make the best of a bad situation and set his focus on completing the task he’d set before himself.

He typed an average of three pages per day on a manual typewriter, going through about a thousand ink ribbons and 18,890 pieces of typing paper.

Surprisingly, he was not the first person to spend time typing from one to a million. That honor goes to Marva Drew of Waterloo, Iowa, who had performed the task across six years, from 1968 through 1974. She had done it in large part as a feat of defiance; her son’s high school teacher had told the boy that nobody had ever counted to a million, and that to do so would be crazy. She decided to prove that perseverance is a valuable trait, and typed it out. It took her 2,473 pages to do it.

Why did it take Les Stewart more pages? Because unlike Marva, he wasn’t satisfied to simply type numbers… he typed the numbers as words. Not 1, 2, 3, 4, but rather one, two, three, four…. all the way up to one million.

His effort didn’t take six years. It took just over sixteen and a half.

He did have another hindrance. The same injury that had rendered him unable to work had restricted him to typing with only one finger.

Question of the night: What’s a time you’ve made the best of a bad situation?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.