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Big Orange Slide

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

The fork in the keyboard

October 3, 2012 by Thom Antonio

Illustration by Thom Antonio

I have a confession to make: I can’t type. There, I’ve said it. I shall now proceed to finger crawl my way through this post.

I’ve always thought of myself as a visual and verbal communicator. Need a sketch to help turn your abstract idea into a reality? That’s (relatively) easy. Have a complex math problem? I can work that out for you. Looking for someone to talk/present/preach in front of a room? I’ll have no qualms taking that on. But the minute you ask me to write a lengthy email or presentation, you’ll likely be greeted with a one-line response or bullet point list. My apologies to those who have been offended by these trespasses in the past.

How is it possible that I’ve come this far and have never mastered this basic skill? If I think back to all of the forks in my road, I can pinpoint my first year of high school as the moment when I took the road less type-y. To my mind, typing was a course you took to fill out your schedule or guarantee a 2:1 ratio of females. While not that long ago, it was still a time of stereotypes. A time when typing was done at a typewriter with paper, manual returns and whiteout. All of which added up to some future job that would see you type all day. Nah, that wasn’t for me.

Fast forward fifteen years, and all of a sudden email is the standard form of communication in the business world. When you receive upwards of eighty emails a day, half of which warrant a response, typing at least sixty words per minute comes in handy. While I can still write a crafty email, it just takes a little more effort to get the words in my head onto the screen. Typically I’ll employ my eight-finger crossover method (patent pending), or two-thumb iPhone typing style. Sadly, both imperfect systems rival the sad speed I can muster when I sit at a full keyboard with two hands. And yes, I’ve tried dictation and learning software. Didn’t work. I’m open to suggestions if you have them.

When offering advice to kids seeking a career in the creative industry, I’ve always told them three things: 1) be well versed in communicating ideas, 2) stand out amongst their peers, and 3) work harder than others vying for the same position. I don’t think I’ve ever told them that they need to be good typists. That changes now.

It took me around eight days to write this blog post. So I guess I should start on my next post now if I want to have it ready for Christmas.

4 Comments on "The fork in the keyboard"

  • Ken Easson
    October 3, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

    Having learned typing on a mechanical typewriter in a class of girls (which i thought was pretty cool) I enjoyed very much your post and look forward to seeing many more such posts.

  • Kathy
    October 4, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    On the advice of my grade 8 teacher (thank you, Mr. Davis) I took every typing course I could while in high school, even when it meant summer classes.

    I can’t begin to add up all the ways it’s helped me over the years. Having this skill allows me to more fluidly express myself; while I can’t quite type as fast as I think (yet), having less of a lag sure is nice.

  • Leilah Ambrose
    October 5, 2012 @ 10:10 am

    I can type. And I can type quickly. The sad thing is I think that my pen-holding muscles have atrophied.

    Remember writing essays on foolscap? I defy anyone to try doing that now without serious hand crampage.

  • Dave
    October 12, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

    @Leilah: Foolscap was named after the fool’s cap and bells watermark commonly used from the fifteenth century onwards on paper.

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