Kalki left a comment on my last post referring to my use of the word “typer” to describe my keyboarding ability. Honestly I totally hesitate to employ typist as a personal descriptor since that word implies a certain amount of proficiency that I really do not possess. My mom is an expert mega fast typist and she actually laughs out loud at my typing technique. It is, I confess, somewhat spastic.
There are many reasons why I cannot type speedily or accurately and all of these reasons are entirely my fault.
I was a difficult teenager. I was not a troublemaker or a juvenile delinquent. Alas I emerged from puberty without a criminal record or any bodily scars. My main problem was that I was mouthy and full of a lot of opinions. Basically I was full of shit.
When I was a teenager waaay back in the 80’s personal computers were very rare and computer science was not yet offered at school. When I was a teenager the only reason you learned to type was to become a secretary. Or at least that is what I thought. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would vacillate wildly between being a Rolling Stone photographer to just skipping the media part altogether and being a rock star. Never mind that I didn’t play an instrument or sing well. In my mind this occupation was entirely possible and I only really needed a couple guitar lessons at some point. I also wanted to be a fashion designer, professionally jet set and hang around the beautiful people. For a living.
My parents, trying to keep me within the earth’s atmosphere, would tell me that having some secretarial skills wouldn’t be a bad idea. Something to fall back on. Well, way to harsh my mellow! My mom was a secretary and she had to have normal hair and wear tweed type clothing and be pleasant to people. There was no way you would find me working out of a cubicle. NO WAY, MAN!
So I did the only thing I could do to completely eradicate any chance of me accidentally finding myself taking messages for The Man. I decided not to learn any secretarial skills at all if I could possibly help it.
I did take a typing class in tenth grade and managed to still pass while not learning the layout of the keyboard at all. In fact I am entirely uncertain how I didn’t fail that class completely. It is possible that my teacher took pity on me. Probably it was that he simply didn’t care that much.
You see, Mr. McCracken, my ‘Business Education” instructor was a very young and new teacher. He was also pretty good looking. Not to me as I didn’t go for that Magnum PI cheesy moustache sort of guy but most of the other young ladies in his classes mooned over him most shamefully. And he LOVED it. I don’t think he even noticed that I was sucking so badly at my keyboard skill exercises. In reality I spent most classes watching him flirt back to his 16 year old female students. Or I simply goofed off.
Mr. McCrackin wore Miami Vice coloured clothes and drove a Mercedes convertible sports car. His fan club would often follow him out of the classroom escorting him to his ride and wave hysterically as he drove off every afternoon. There was always lots of giggling and flipping of hair in his presence. Oh, gag me with an IBM Selectric.
His popularity waned once he brought his young and beautiful girlfriend to co-chaperone the Valentine’s Day dance. She had long blonde hair and wore a pastel coloured twin set. Together they looked like a couple of Kennedys, all bright and shiny and perfect. The entire female student body was seething by the end of the night. Maybe even a few of the teachers too.
But I digress…
I emerged from high school utterly type challenged and completely unsuited for any kind of clerical work. Mwahahaha. I love it when plan comes together.
Then personal computers started becoming more common (who knew!?) and my parents got a DOS unit in the house. Even then I managed to avoid learning to type, as working one of those beasts was not merely inputting an essay but filled with weird function keys and strange alphabetical equations. My mom was an expert and as such typed all my art history papers through two years of art school. The next two years of jewellery school I got my roommate to type my assignments out at her job when she was bored, as we didn’t have computer in our bachelorette pad. Pretty sneaky on my part. I think I convinced her that doing this for me would be good practise as she was learning to type herself at the time. Very handy! And I remained a typing virgin.
After graduation I got my first Mac and got email and discovered that I was completely screwed. There were all my friends and family communicating like busy little bees while I laboured and sweated over a sentence or two. IMing was out of the question.
Ten years later nothing has really changed except that my speed has increased just a little. My fingers flail around uncontrollably and if it weren’t for spell check my correspondence would resemble a kindergartener’s diary. Secretly, it is really embarrassing. Outwardly, I put on a brave face to the world and loudly proclaim my ass backwards technique to be just part of my charm. Yeah, as charming as a fart in church. Cringe worthy.
I have tried a few typing tutorials downloaded off the internet and quickly realised that teaching an old dog new tricks is not only slow but painfully boring. I can actually feel my brain shudder as my motor skills are challenged and new synapses are formed. Faced with those sensations I usually decide pretty quickly that my hardwood floors need to be detailed or my socks need ironing and abandon the lesson.
So I am not a professional photographer or the next bassist for Hole or even a jet setter. I am not a secretary either. I am simply a bad typer and far too humiliated to confess how long it took me to write this post. There were 23 spelling mistakes though.