Saturday, August 9, 2008

Just My Type

I love typing! It's fun (or it's still fun, just like driving a car is still fun to me). In Poland people don't know how to type. I'm sure this is a gross generalization, and probably in the upcoming generations more people are learning, but generally speaking, in this country things are kept on paper (not printer paper, I'm talking paper and pen paper).

Of course there ARE computers. Lots of them. In fact you often see them on the news when they mention some government department and show a lady behind a desk pecking away with both her pointer fingers, often reaching over with her right hand to hit an "e". They actually get to be pretty quick at it, and it's fun to watch. It isn't, however, very efficient. And I think this country could be significantly more productive if people learned to type (this is probably an oversimplification, and of course many people own personal computers these days, as well). The problem is, they don't offer typing courses in school.

I took beginning typing in 9th grade. Mr. Shaw was a tall, loud, slightly obnoxious man with wild, curly black hair. We used typewriters (!). He would shout, " A! S! D! F! A! S! D! F!" and we would all feel awesome punching in the right buttons, as displayed on our grayish sheet of recycled type paper, without even looking at our hands. Maybe he wasn't all that loud in real life, but he was in a room full of typewriters, and typewriters that were being used, so he HAD to yell. He spent all day yelling and probably went home and yelled at his family (without realizing it, I mean).

It was kind of hard to think about the letters sometimes though, because Mark Janji was in that class. And I could see him from where I sat. What a dream. He was tall, very thin, very tan, with light hazel (I think) eyes and dark wavy hair that he styled perfectly each day with the help of a half a tube of gel. And he had braces, and made them look amazing. I think I convinced some of the girls sitting around me to help me throw crumpled up used paper at him every day as a means of flirtation. How irresistible was I! He was neither smart, nor funny, nor especially nice, but he was something to behold. (what was I thinking?) So you can see why my earliest memories of typing are great ones. And it carried over when, the next semester, I took a word processing class (using real computers!) and still loved typing, even though Mark was not in that class.

I've mentioned before that I'm not the fastest of typers. I think I type 40-45 wpm. That little test in my sidebar ignores the law of averages. Of course I can type 72 words when it's for only one minute, typing some really basic words and I can try over and over. But my modest 40wpm is all I need, really. There's no real sense of urgency in getting blog posts typed up, or race to get emails written, and that's all I'm using it for.

This summer Evie has decided to start a blog. She would take her own pictures and dictate the text to me and I would do the typing. Then I realized that she should learn to type on her own. I found a great little On-line typing course (FREE!!), although I don't think it does enough repetition. It could be improved by a Mr. Shaw-like voice shouting out the whole, "A! S! D! F!" (or at least some more repetition of letters for practice on screen). My kids are just going over each level and stage more than once. And it may not come with a built in Mark Janji to bring in that added element of fun (or at least handsomeness), but it does have singing octopi and dancing sheep, which is all the motivation my kids need (actually, Evie turns the volume all the way down while she practices) It's better than a computer game to them! Great!

When David would read to me in the past, it usually went something like this: "Are you crazy question mark Don't eat the leaves exclamation point" Since he began this typing program, and has become more aware, it goes something like this "Are space you space crazy question mark Don't space eat space the space leaves exclamation point." Clown.

I told a friend of mine about this typing course and she's really excited to try it out. She told me she types one-handed and is interested in learning how to really type. That's great! I hope more people will learn and it will become a norm here, like it is in dear America. And then everything will improve*. It will be this huge upward growth thing and eventually they'll start selling things like chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, and cooking spray and have clean enough water that they can make drinking fountains available everywhere. And I will finally feel completely comfortable in Poland. So now we come to my real reason for wanting people to be able to type faster.

*Although the Polish economy is doing wonderfully at this point. And If this closing paragraph makes me sound like an arrogant or ignorant American, that's probably only because I kind of am, sometimes, fight as I will against it.


Corina said...

Thanks for sharing the cool website! I also had a goal for my kids to learn to type this summer. I found an online typing course at:
Give it a try! The games are *really* fun, even for me!

Erin said...

I wonder if Mark Janji would ever find this blog if he googled his name. :)

Thanks for the typing game tips. I would love for my kids to learn to type. Why wait until 9th grade like we did? But the fancy electric typewriters and the noise they made were pretty fun.

Jill said...

They don't have chocolate chips and peanut butter cups?

How do you survive??


I also learned to type on a typewriter. One of those non-electric kinds. I always went through a ton of correction tape.

I love the backspace key on my keyboard. And spell check.

Lisa said...

Corina - Oh! Thanks for that link! I haven't tried any of the games yet, but that typing course has got plenty of the kind of repetition I was looking for! Thanks so much!

Erin - I thought about that, too as I was writing about him. And I apart from his looks I don't really give him a very complimentary evaluation. So if you read this Mark, I'm sorry. All I really meant was that none of those other qualities could ever compete with your sheer gorgeousness.
Oh, and our typewriters were REAL ones. I think they got the electric ones a few years after I finished that class.

Jill - I DON'T survive! Well, I guess maybe I do; but just barely.

David Sibert said...

That is so true. I always love it when I see people who are in Bank Jobs and they cannot type that fast. It is pretty crazy.

Becky said...

Oooh, Mark Janji... I feel all tingly just thinking of him. Of course, in my fantasy his name is James and he was in my Chemistry class. Sigh!
I may try out this course you suggested. I tend to use three fingers when I type instead of uh, however many I'm supposed to use. :)

Susan said...

Thanks for the link, I don't think it's a great site, but it was timely and T n T have both tried it out and Tyra's been doing it a bunch.

As for typing, that's a big part of why I *loved* data entry. And as for typing and crushes, I received a typewriter-typed note from John Yim delivered by Brett Goeringer every morning in early morning seminary. I was just showing Tyra how to fold the notes so they don't fall open, with the little flap, and I was surprised how easily it came back to me... I was such a nerd, between Melissa and Joy and other friends I probably wrote about a billion "notes" during jr high and high school!

Do you remember Nat Rubinfeld pecking away with his 2 index fingers back at Union Adjustment Company?