Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Quick Fox Had Wite Out, But Not The Lazy Dog

I learned to type some twenty-six years ago in high school. It started out when I put in for a transfer to a school that was better academically and that all of my friends were going to attend, right before I graduated junior high. It took the San Francisco School District over six months to grant that request and right after the Christmas of 1979, I was off to something slightly better.

So as a late transfer, I had little choice over what classes I could in enroll in, since the classes were already full. To give you an example of what it was like, there were forty-two students enrolled in my Freshman Geography class that January. Thirty-seven showed up the first day, twenty-nine the next, and the class stabilized at twenty people attending every day.

Remember, this high school was a step up, so it doesn't take too much imagination to picture what the previous "school" was like. This was also back in the day when school funding wasn't related to attendance. Later on, there would be a state-wide crack down on attendance, with school funding tied to attendance, but not during the short time I was there.

So, the school couldn't fit me into two periods. One class was solved by making me an office assistant and the other, came down to the choice of typing and home economics. Mind you, I wound up in home economics in my junior year, but that's a nightmare for another posting. I selected typing because it seemed like a skill that would come in handy one day.

I was the only male in the class except for the teacher and he wasn't sympathetic. He wasn't a jerk either, but he didn't really bother to help me or help me adjust.

All the gals were already in their circles, literally. I was a male meteor drifting in the solar system of typing gals. Each had the most popular gal or leader in the center like a planet, then the others were seated around that leader like satellites. I was not allowed in anyone's orbit.

They weren't exactly mean to me with the one exception that I will get to, but nobody talked to me inside of that class or said "hi." This didn't bother me so much as I had a more pressing issue with that damn quick fox and just why was he jumping over the lazy dog? If he was a fox, he would simply go around him, right? Hell, if he were a cartoon fox, he'd set a firecracker under the dog or bite him in the...nevermind.

Here's where the problem of being an outsider came into play and what brought me to reminisce: when I typed back then and I had to capitalize, I would type "TUesday." You see that? I had a tendency to ride the "shift" key. You know, like "TAke ME TO THe RIver."

Now, this isn't a problem with computers, you can backspace all day long before you "print," "send" or "publish post," but not in the age of typing. Why? Because, those of you who are too young to remember and those who don't want to remember, you needed
Wite Out during that era.

That's right, we didn't have correctional ribbons (at least in high school) back then where you could hit a button and it would strike your mistake from the paper. We had to pull the paper up out of the typewriter, and then brush correctional fluid all over the mistake. I wonder how Freud would've tackled that.

Now, everyone in the class was up to at least fifty words-per-minute, while I was yanking my hair out trying to find the damn "comma" key and trying to stop the mixing up of the "b" and "v" keys. I became an annoyance, reaallll fast. I had a father that wouldn't buy my Wite Out, I didn't know where to buy the stuff (but you can best believe that I knew where to get the cheapest batteries for my boombox) and I didn't have a backpack to carry it in. Or like the gals who had a monopoly on the stuff, a purse.

My parents had just gone through a messy divorce and I was pariah with my mother's side of the family...the side of the family who knew how to procure all these things. My father and I had no clue of anything that wasn't blue collar-related, and that is as much detail as I'll get into right now.

So here I am making mistakes on every line and then, braving social planetary systems to borrow Wite Out. If looks could kill, I died ten thousand deaths in that class.

Fellas, you ever had a girlfriend that wanted you to do her nails? Well, I had went out with one girl by then and the only thing she taught me the two times we went out, was how to kiss. Quite useful for adulthood and life (ask the Missus), but of no use for typing class. I had no idea how to apply nail polish or Wite Out.

I put the stuff on too thick. Hell, I would've been better off putting nail polish or paint on the paper, with the mess I started. Ah, fun times. Well, now I'm up to at least seventy-five words-per-minute and I could probably do more, except for the mistakes I make every nine words or so.

Yet, since June, I've been riding the "shift" key again like it's 1980 all over again. I don't know the reason behind it and this post is as much of an investigation as I will go into. Every day, I teach Procrastinator Jr. how to ask for help when we're in stores and I show him just what stores to go to, so that he doesn't have to rely on me. More importantly, he'll be able to navigate snark planetary and solar systems all by himself.

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