Homeland Insecurity: Secrets of an old typewriter
by Lisa Davis
Special to The Star
May 12, 2013 | 2145 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At the risk of sounding like Rain Man, I must say, I’m an excellent typist. That’s not as impressive as it used to be. These days, everybody types.

Used to be that typing was a more rarified skill. My husband — you know, the guy who grew up to be the editor of this newspaper — wasn’t allowed on his high-school newspaper staff because he couldn’t type well enough.

He still doesn’t type the way you’re supposed to. Even though he basically TYPES FOR A LIVING, he only uses two fingers. Three, if he’s in a hurry.

I didn’t learn to type until my senior year of college. I hunted and pecked my way through three years of English papers before I learned proper typing technique. I finally had to take a class because they wouldn’t give me my journalism degree until I passed a typing test.

I tried to teach myself. My aunt Hazel was a high-school typing teacher, and she loaned me some old textbooks. But I was a lousy teacher. So I broke down and signed up for a class at the local community college.

Turned out I was really good. In my prime, I could break the 100 words-per-minute barrier, no sweat. I give credit for my nimble fingers to all the years of piano lessons I underwent.

I’ve since had a lot of different journalism jobs — not once did anybody ever inquire about my typing speed. In fact, the editor who hired me for my first newspaper job was another one of those two-fingered typists.

Things are different for my children. They started typing lessons in elementary school. I actually got them started earlier than that at home, with a Mavis Beacon computer program.

Do you know Mavis Beacon — the attractive African-American woman with the best-selling typing software?

Did you know she is NOT REAL? She’s a fictional character, like Betty Crocker. I was crushed when I found that out.

Fictional or not though, Mavis Beacon did help my children learn to type. But after all that investment of time and money and pestering on my part, it turns out my children are doing much of their typing with their thumbs.

How do you people text so fast using nothing but your thumbs? (I just tried to type that previous sentence on my phone with my thumbs. It came out, “Huq dl tiu peolpw tuos ap dart ising norhinf but yiue rhumba?”)

I have to type out my texts veeeeery slooooowly, using only one finger.

Not that finger.

Although sometimes I wish Siri was better at taking dictation. Till then, I’ll just be typing on my phone with one finger, wearing my mom jeans, hollering for somebody to come change the channel on the TV because I can’t figure out how to work the remote.

It’s payback for all the times I’ve teased my husband about his two-fingered typing.

Contact Lisa Davis at ldavis@annistonstar.com
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Homeland Insecurity: Secrets of an old typewriter by Lisa Davis
Special to The Star

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