Listen to your mother


As a senior in high school I needed one more elective to fill out my fall schedule. My mom suggested that I take a typing class.

Yuck. Typing class? Everyone else I knew was taking cool stuff like word processing. I’d been typing since she gave me a Fisher-Price typewriter when I was eight years old, so by that point I considered myself an expert, albeit an expert two-finger typist. Wouldn’t that be like taking a class on walking?

Her reasoning was that since I was a two-finger sight typist (i.e., as opposed to a touch typist), imagine how much better, faster I would be if I took a typing class and learned to use all 10 fingers and become a touch typist?

Since I’m a lazy person and didn’t want to think any more about my fall schedule, I went along and signed up for it. Monday to Friday, 8:00 am-8:50 am, IBM Selectric typewriters. I found out on my first day of class, when the teacher had us test our typing abilities, that I was a 35-wpm, two-finger sight typist, which apparently was pretty good.

By the end of the semester, I was clocking in at about 55 wpm and, as my mother promised, using all 10 of my fingers and typing without once looking at the keys. Nearly thirty years later, I’m at about 120 wpm and averaging no more than 2 errors. As it turned out, this is a damn useful skill when you’re a technology worker and a writer.

Thanks, mom!