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Friday, September 5, 2014

Type-Cast

 . . . or you could just throw it at someone . . .

In high school, amid the myriad choices, there was one class everyone was expected to take.

None of us could understand why.
It was a useless class.
What on earth would we ever need it for?
It's not like it had any practical applications.
Yep. Typing 10.
The colossal waste of time.
But we were, if nothing else, dutiful.
Daily, we would report to our teacher.
Then scurry to get the best machine.
I should explain, here, that the machines we used were all elderly 'Olivetti Underwoods'.
Non-electronic.
Totally manual.
Capable of jamming if any two keys approached the action zone at the same time.
Heavy, cast iron.
And able to take whatever abuse we chose to mete out.
And, believe me, that was Abuse with a capital 'A'.
One friend would systematically pound on her machine for every mistake she made.
It was quite entertaining.
And made the typing of the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog not quite so mundane.
And repetitive.
Daily, we were taken through exercises designed to improve our accuracy.
Our ability to type while looking anywhere other than our keyboard.
And our speed.
None of which were my forte.
Our teacher would stand at the front of the room with her trusty little stopwatch.
And holler 'Go!”
Dozens of keys would begin clicking.
Okay, another thing I should mention is that manual typewriters, at least the ones we used, were noisy.
All of us typing together would constitute what could only be considered a 'din'.
With the sound of my friend periodically rising above as she stopped to punch her machine. “Stupid, useless . . .!”
“Stop.”
Hands in our laps.
Then we would roll out our paper and check for mistakes.
This is where I always came to grief.
Well, one of the places.
I could type fast.
I just didn't ever hit the right keys.
Of all the kids in the class, I probably scored the worst.
Oddly enough, I'm the only one who now makes her living . . . typing.
The irony is just sickening.
P.S. Every time I see an old Olivetti Underwood, I get all misty and nostalgic. Go figure.

26 comments:

  1. I took a typing class as well - and was NOT the star student of the class!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and me, Susan! We'll sit at the back . . .

      Delete
  2. I feel the same way about the portable manuals in the little suitcases...mom used to rent me one at the beginning of every school year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always thought those were the cutest! I wanted one where the machine and case matched!

      Delete
  3. I think the irony is wonderful, Diane! I learned on one of those machines, too. When I began using an electric machine with a whiteout backspace key, I thought it was heaven. But nothing can compare to the soft-touch keyboard, magic delete key, and world of formatting that we have available now! Although the old typewriters are good for keeping children occupied, it's true ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! To true. My kids and grandkids are fascinated by these old machines!

      Delete
  4. The single smartest thing I ever did in school was take typing. I can't even imagine how hard I had to push compared to now. I love the look of an old manual, though. Vintage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true. It's the one class I use the most! Who knew?

      Delete
  5. I took typing for 3 years in high school. First was just a collection of post-adolescents getting their kicks pushing Ms. Wendy to her breaking point while the other 2 actually had 3 boys in a unique situation in that we attended class with 23 girls. I've typed every day for the last 20 years (or so) and even though I cling to the hope that I'll actually learn to type, it has saved me on numerous occasions. With a permanently injured right hand, I cannot write very well, but I can type... Sort of...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you can type . . .
      The boys in our school caught onto the fact that all of the girls were in typing class. Or Home Ec. Then there was a flood of male participants.

      Delete
  6. Like you, we were required to attend typing class in high school. I'm pretty sure our typewriters weren't electric as well. And yes, I remember the stressful tests of trying to type as fast as one could and with as little mistakes as possible. Now I am beyond grateful for learning to type the proper way. I'm actually sad that my son won't learn it in school anymore, so it's really up to me to teach him how to type. I pray to God I have the patience. Thanks for this Diane. Now you got me nostalgic too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG I took a required typing class, too---best thing I ever did!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved typing class! My boyfriend (now hubby) not so much. He still uses two fingers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We call that the 'hunt and pick/reporter method'. I've seen some people type a million miles an hour using it! :)

      Delete
  9. I would never have thought that typing class would be as useful as it is in life even now. One of those annoying classes that you never thought you'd need, but it's still so relevant even now, so many years later with laptops instead of Olivetti's. Fun walk down memory lane.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oddly, I'm surrounded by insanely fast, accurate typists--my husband does about 100wpm, my sister is an excellent typist, and my son had to switch to the Dvorak typing system to accommodate his speed (apparently the Qwerty system was developed to slow typists down so the keys wouldn't jam).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I had to Google 'Dvorak Typing System'. I learned something today. I won't ever have to worry about switching! Still rather slow here . . .

      Delete
  11. I wish I took typing in Hi -School. I only learned the fundamentals in a 3 week course. I have been suffering in slowness ever since!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seemed such a waste of time. But now . . .

      Delete
  12. Ah typing class! The memories carbon paper, onion paper, double space this single space that! I loved it! Did you ever take shorthand? Now that's a class I still have nightmares about!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I took Journalism short-hand, which was just a system of shortening the words. Yikes! Carbon paper? I SO remember that!

      Delete
  13. Typing wasn't compulsory at my high school. Back in the 60s the courses were divided into General and Commercial studies, with commercial being for those who wanted to be secretaries or typists, or simply for jobs that needed typing, such as journalism etc. The General course had languages and sciences instead of the typing and shorthand. So I never learned to type.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the times I was forced into something that I was later grateful for! Most of my education was like that! :)

      Delete

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