Friday, April 11, 2008

type write, not well

Did anyone else have one of those when they were little, or was I just a complete dork for wanting to learn how to type as quickly as my mother could? The Type Write and I would spend many an hour in the backseat of the family car on trips, just clicking away.

In case you didn't grow up in the 80s (or were doing interesting things in your childhood like "playing sports" or "building treehouses" or "not practicing administrative skills"), the Type Write was a small, red keyboard with a tiny screen across the top of it. You would turn it on, select a skill level 1-9, and then words would scroll across the screen. Your job was to type out the words without messing up, then advance to the next level. Skill Level 1 was all lower-case home-row keys (in other works asdf and jkl;). Skill Level 2 included the home-row keys, plus g and h - ooh, tricky! I hated Skill Level 9. Hated it with a passion. It was all the punctuation marks and symbols on the top row of the keyboard - those tricky ones that you have to shift to access and that no one ever really memorizes. Why would you ever put yourself through all that stress voluntarily? I tried it once or twice after my confidence had been built up with Levels 1-8, but every time my 7-year-old self would end up breathing hard and pitting through my splatter-painted t-shirt. Those scary symbols were just not worth it and I've never looked back.

Stay with me here; there's a point.

My cube at work backs up to my Sr. VP's admin, which is a superb position to be in if you enjoy eavesdropping. Which I do, and have become quite skillful. That skill was greatly rewarded today as I overheard the following one-sided conversation, just after she provided the other end of the phone with her email address:

"Right. No, wait. It's my first name, and then 'at'. You know, the 'at' symbol? Okay, no... you don't. Okay - here. Do this. Hold down your shift key, then press the number 2. That should make the 'at' symbol. Did that work? Yes! That's right! That's the 'at' symbol! Oh, you've heard of that before! Yes, that's it."

I can only assume that this is what happens to people who never even attempt Type Write Level 9.