Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bad Bad Typer

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.


Sharkey said...

Wow--I'm impressed that you A) Have a blog that requires lots of typing, B) Post frequently, despite the effort it must entail, and C) Never have any spelling errors.

Have you tried Typer Shark? It's definitely more fun than a tutorial.

Susie said...

I liked typing, for some reason. I love your plan; it was not entirely unworkable. Lord knows there are rock stars who can't play an instrument or carry at tune. It coulda happened.
I am among those who are very glad you manage to hunt and peck us into your life.

A little Christmas gift to you, a friend directed me to this site for kitty lovers.

Magical_M said...

I never took typing in high school either. I was thrown out of home economics too, so I thought I had that whole secretary-slash-homemaker thing beat.

I had chosen supermodel as my career of choice.

But somewhere along the line I learned to touch type pretty fast (I think it was the years of piano lessons) and I've just finished baking a bunch of goodies for Christmas presents.

I never became the supermodel I wanted to be in high school though...

Leigh-Ann said...

My parents forced me to take typing in grade 10, not because they figured I'd be a secretary, but because they thought I'd need the skill to type papers, essays, etc. That year I was given a typewriter for Christmas, and that was that. I was the oldest child so they didn't take any crap from me -- there's no way my typing mother would ever have agreed to type my assignments for me. I'm sure my much younger brother suckered her into it, but I was unfortunately born before they discovered leniency and started breaking rules :-)

spoonleg said...

Please, please tell us- how long did it take you to type this post??

I learned how to type fast in college. I never took a typing class so I don't know the proper ergonomic hand placements and stuff, I just poke around at the keyboard. I actually learned how to type fast out of necessity, from IMing and rushed attempts to finish a college essay or two. I'm the fastest pecker in all the land.

Also, Typer Shark fucking RULES. I totally looooooove that game, once I made it to level 27 or some insane shit like that. Work? Nah, I don't usually do any of that...

happyandblue2 said...

I've never given the typing thing a second thought. I figured you were a jet setting rock star all along..

fueltank said...

Someone sneaking a little irony into their comments?

Thought I'd offer this on the second hand smoke hangover. Many people who smoke and then quit develop a sensitivity to smoke that borders on allergy. I cannot be in a smokey room for any length of time without becoming physically ill. I smoked for 11 years and quit 12 years ago. I still get sick around smoke.

I also took typing in high school. We didn't get IMB (sic) Selectrics, we got Olympia standard manual models, big heavy grey and white things that resisted all attempts to assist my nascent keyboarding skills. That, by the way, is the term used since the decline of the typewriter and the rise of the word processor. So you can call yourself a keyboardist and happily indulge your rock and roll dreams while still paying the rent.

Typing was taught by Brother Noonan, a geriatric old fool who seemed good for little else. He smelt 'funny' and had bad skin, breath and dandruff. He always had thick blobs of white spittle in the corners of his overly fleshy mouth, a wetly red wound slashed into pale white skin.

"Don't be a digger!" he would bellow in a spray of spittle and invective at any boy he caught using improper finger technique. I can only shuuder at what images and thoughts must have been going through his mind. I would say that I fucking hated that class, but why bother? I fucking hated EVERY class in high school.

"Don't be a digger!" was only one of his bon mots; happily I cannot remember any others. Doubtless something will come to me in my sleep, much like the brothers did at the boarding schools back in Newfoundland. Did I forget to mention, forget to mention...

... that after the abuse was discovered at Mount Cashel (not by the authorities, but by the Christian Brothers organisation) they shipped the worst offenders out west and told them to stop their abuse of the young boys in thier care. How fucking ingenious! Those guys new how to deal with serial sex offenders.

It is the equivalent of putting me in a room of christmas baking and saying don't eat it. Several of the teachers from my school went to jail when the whole sordid affair was discovered.

I'm with you, Kranki. Learning to type crossed a line.

Tuli Kupferberg Go Fuck Yourself with Your Atom Bomb

Pretty funny tune, it comes with call-in listener comments. Find it on the Interwebs, or email me and I will send you a copy.

Bucky Four-Eyes said...

All my typing skills have cumulated with my greatest feat of all, to type in word verification like:


I used to type pretty fast, but as I get older, I see my speed and accuracy dropping. What the fuck?

Kassi said...

you make up for all of it with your sincerity.

Squirl said...

I think learning piano helped me, eventually, with my typing. I only took typing as I thought I'd need the skill to type college papers. Who wants to be a secretary?

My keyboarding skills improved when I went back to college, and then e-mailing and now blogging.

And how come nobody, including Bucky, made a joke about Spoonie calling herself the fastest pecker in the land???

Udge said...

Typing class was compulsory when I was in grade 8 (1972), everybody had to take it for one term. I had been doing hunt-and-peck typing on my father's manual (!) typewriter before then, but learning proper ten-finger-typing and then the wonder of the electric typewriter was like getting the keys to a Ferrari.

song said...

I feel so um... how to put this - I want to moon everyone because I have had a computer all my life. Mind you I was born in 84 so it wasn't that much of a stretch. remember Commander Keen? no, just me? anyway.... And remember the printers with the little holes on the side of the paper to feed it too? my real estate still uses one.... The point of this comment is that even though I can type pretty fast (my left hand strictly operates the s e a and shift, that's it) there was a lot more than 23 typos in this comment...

kalki said...

I find this utterly fascinating. And now I am very MORE grateful for your posts, not just because of the guaranteed entertainment, but now also because I know it took you for-freakin-ever to type them.

For what it's worth, Peter Jennings couldn't type, either - he did the hunt-and-peck thing.

spoonleg said...

I, too, am offended that bucky didn't catch that one, squirl. She's not only a slow typer, she's getting slow witted in her old age!

Amanda B. said...

Dude, I couldn't spell my way out of a "date your first cousin" ho-down.

Have a very very Happy Holiday, Kranki!

Divine Calm said...

Don't worry about your typing skills. We love you anyway. Happy Holidays!

LadyBug said...

Merry Christmas Kranki and Yoshi! Love and hugs to you both.

God Bless,

WQXHPHEU said...

how read bass guitar music.

Knowing these ten letters:


gives you ALL the alphabet you need to learn

how read bass guitar music

'Scuse me?