Thirty Five Words Per Minute

Thursday, September 30, 2010

When I learned to type in high school, 35 words per minute seemed to be the benchmark to strive for.  It seemed an almost impossible goal to reach, especially with the weird V-B reach, the Q-W-Z thing and maybe X too.  I think I might also have had a broken right index finger at the time, from a basketball injury during PE. 

Do they even teach typing anymore?  It seems that kids today are born with some mutant texting/Facebook gene that just didn’t exist when I was growing up.  My oldest daughter texts so vigorously, that it sometimes seems to defy physics.  When she got her first cell phone, she used to send and receive upwards of around 18,000 text messages a month.  I would calculate with my brother to see if that were even humanly possible (it is).  Of course, they don’t send out full sentences, or full words for that matter.  I get really irritated when I get an email with letters instead of words:  K, U; well you know the ones. 

My forte was always the number pad on the keyboard.  I used to work a register at a convenience food store and I held the distinction of being the fastest register ringer in the West.  I might have even been the fastest in the whole United States, but I know for sure that I was at least the fastest in the West. 

What they don’t teach you in typing class is that it is content that really matters, not just the speed.  True, they want accuracy with the speed, but they still can't teach you the art of writing - only the art of typing.  You're not going to get any accolades for re-telling the story about the quick brown fox jumping over the lazy dog.
Sometimes I think that the only reason we seem to get smarter with age is that kids are learning less of the skills than we had to learn. I give my youngest daughter a hard time for not being able to tell time from my watch with hands.  I try to help her understand the big and little hand, but I think there is less motivation to learn about things that are not so important anymore. 

It’s a new world out there and 35 words per minute is not such a big deal.  But it gives me quiet comfort to know that until the QWERTY keyboard is obsolete, I’m still able to keep up - in my own way.


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