Thursday, March 13, 2008

Caution: Cheating and tight pants can result in physical pain.

When I was in high school, back in the early 80s when we wore tight jeans with names like San Francisco Riding Gear and worked the kinks out of what would later become known as the Camel Toe, the future of computers seemed dubious. We had a couple machines in a computer lab somewhere, touched mostly by the boys who took AP Math, so we thought of them as giant, non-portable calculators. “Those things will never catch on,” we’d say, rolling our blue-shadowed eyes.

I had to take Mrs. McCracken’s Typing Basics junior year (yes, on a real live typewriter a la Mark “I was the first person in the world to apply the typemachine to literature" Twain). I couldn’t see the point. I distinctly remember remarking, “I don’t need to know how to type, I’m going to have a secretary…” I can’t recall what I thought I was going to grow up to be, but whatever it was it involved having a secretary to touch those loathsome keys.

When I saw that I had Typing right after morning break, I hatched a brilliant plan. Mrs. McCracken always wrote the day’s lesson on the board, so I’d go in during break and pretend to practice while I’d really be carefully typing the day’s lesson slowly, without mistakes. Then in class when we’d have our time test, I’d just type crazily like a 4 year old, throw away that gobbledygook, and then turn in the previously constructed work. I aced the class, and came out completely unable to type. My foresight could not have been cloudier.

So now, as a freelance writer who is paid to type, I still hunt and peck. I’m fast, sure, really fast actually, but in a jerky, nonsensical, start-and-stop way. A lot like I drive. Most disappointing, though, is the physical pain my cheating has brought on. I have carpel tunnel in both wrists because of the weird way that I hold my hands as I pounce on letters. A constant, chronic reminder that The Adults were right--cheating only hurts the cheater.

"Cosmic irony" bonus: My first real job out of college was at Microsoft.

Yeah, those things will never catch on...


bluelikethesky said...

generic Alleve's what I'm jonesing for these days, as I feel your pain for the same speedy, eccentrically inaccurate reasons.

Love the blog.

Disco Mermaids said...

Love your blog, Christy!

I met you at the Big Sur workshop in November, and haven't talked to you since! So, it's nice to catch up on your progress via your site.

Congrats on breaking on through to the other side with editorial input from a wonderful editor! It's only a matter of time now.

My timeline looks exactly like your timeline!

Keep in touch,

DiscoMermaid #3

Anonymous said...

I was going to say, "what the hell is 'qwerty'?" then I looked down at my fingers (which I rarely do). Funny!

Anonymous said...

Your ability to strategize was evident at a young age. I can just see you looking studious, typing away furiously . . . what a crack up.