In my previous post I mentioned that it takes hours to write one of these little stories. That’s not exactly true. It takes minutes to write a story but hours to edit it. Editing is the real challenge of “trying to get the words right.”
But I confess I have another reason it takes me so long to write a story. I can’t type.
I am embarrassed to admit that I am strictly a one finger hunt-and-peck man. Occasionally my left index finger will get involved, but it usually doesn’t get past the “D.”
Then there’s that nasty business with the “Caps lock” key.
It’s not that I am ignorant or untrained. I took a typing class in high school. My friend Winfred and I were unfortunate enough to sit front and center in Mrs. Kidd’s little shop of horrors. Winfred was a great defensive tackle who played some college ball and then went on to become a preacher. He was my salvation at the time, because he was as bad a typist as I.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager old Winfred writes his sermons by hand.
Mrs. Kidd stood directly in front of us (actually, more like over us) as she gave instructions. I don’t remember much about her except that she was rather stern and had big nostrils. Added pressure there. Ever try to concentrate while looking up at the business end of a double barrel twelve-gauge shotgun? To make matters worse, she always carried a big wooden ruler, which she regularly applied to my hands when they were in the wrong position.
I went through that entire school year with bruised knuckles. Told my daddy I got them at football practice.
Once a week we had the dreaded “words per minute” test. On a good day I might manage 20, and five of those would be misspelled. But those tests were really the only reprieve I ever got from the tyranny of Mrs. Kidd. You couldn’t cheat front and center, but a scatterling of cheaters were behind me.
The test would go something like this: “Limber up your fingers. Type what I’ve written on the board. We’ll start on my mark in 30 seconds.”
Then, ever so faintly, I’d hear it. Chick. Chick. Chick. Mrs. Kidd heard it too. It sent her charging to the rear like a rhino, ready to administer a little corporal punishment to someone else for a change.
I managed to make it through the year. Think I made a “C” by the skin of my teeth. But I never attempted to type again.
The other night I asked the Redhead if I was too old to learn to type. She told me that there were plenty of internet sites that might help. I looked at a few and thought “maybe I can still do this.”
Then I remembered what a college professor once told me. “Research has shown that it takes about 10,000 hours to master a skill.”
If my math is right, that’s 417 days, nonstop. If I subtract hours for leisure activities like work and sleep, I’d be looking at about five years.
That’s a big commitment. The way I feel most mornings when I get out of bed, I’m just hoping I live another five years.
I think I’ll just stick with hunt-and-peck typing. With the time I save I might be able to get that left finger nimble enough to reach the “F.”
*and having writ, moves on.” Omar Khayyam.