The Obligatory Optional Assignment

KeyboardI want to pass on a piece of wisdom to anyone who still has the time. Though I wish I could somehow go back in time and tell past-me to listen to my parents and everyone else who told me it would be a good idea to take that typing class in high school, I can’t. “You fool,” I’d tell my past-self. “You don’t really think you’ll get anywhere in life without learning how to type properly, do you?” Of course, my snotty fourteen-year-old self would say, “I know how to type, duh. I’ll be fine. Leave me alone! I hate you!” At which point I’d poke that boogery little girl in the eye.

It’s not that I don’t know how to type. I mean, I’m typing these words right now, aren’t I? I have a whole freaking blog for Pete’s sake, for which I typed each of these blatherings all by myself. My dad frequently asked me to assist him with typing emails and values into Excel spreadsheets. I’m certainly capable when it comes to computers, as one has to be nowadays and especially at my age. There’s no escaping the fact that every person has to be, at least to some extent, technologically-versed. However, I’m not the strongest typist in the cyber-world.

I may be quick on the keyboard, in fact, I’m almost as fast a typist as my boyfriend who actually took that typing class in high school, it’s even been said that my fingers are on crack, but as when anything is accomplished at great speed, there’s often room for error. When I type fast, my accuracy is lacking. Spell-check has been my best friend since I can remember and along with the Backspace button, we make quite the team. If I’m focusing on accuracy and speed simultaneously, I find myself looking at the keyboard almost 90 percent of the time, often to recalibrate my mind-finger coordination after taking frequent pauses when I’ve mistyped something so horribly far from what I was meaning to type that the words on the screen are unintelligible and I’ve forgotten what I was doing altogether. Thus, I’ve found that I cannot have speed and accuracy together.

Let me just brag a little by saying that my spelling skills have always been on-point. It really is the typing, the faith that my fingers will find the keys my mind wants them to, that causes my accuracy to suffer when typing quickly. Many times I’ve thought that if I just knew the proper way to position my hands on the keyboard, memorized the arrangement of keys on the board, I could cut out so much time lost to the backspace button, pausing to gather my thoughts, spell-check, etc. But after all this time doing things in my own way, I can’t imagine going back to learn the correct typing method. Would it even help? Would I be wasting my time? Is it possible to correct my bad habits after all these years? And so I’ve decided to use my summer to cross “typing” off my rather long list of things I want to learn. I suppose, in light of this decision, learning to french braid my hair and learning to play the piano will have to wait.

I’ve started a typing course online. It’s my optional for now, but obligatory for life, extra-credit assignment. We’ll see how that goes. As of today I’m three lessons deep and I’ve found that the more keys I’m practicing at a time, the less accuracy I have as well as the less words per minute I’m typing. Go figure and talk about discouraging. I’m also finding that my hands are getting more lethargic more quickly in the new position they have to hold over the keyboard- on the “home row.”

So kids, I think the lesson we’ve learned today is to take keyboarding in high school, or preferably earlier, since people are clearly using computers and learning to type at earlier ages than fourteen. Maybe these courses should be offered in elementary school.

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