When summer school teaches you nothing

Taking Keyboarding 1 over the summer was recommended as a way to alleviate summer boredom as well as make quick work of an easy, boring class.

I was 14, had an ulcer, and played both football and the trombone. A real fresh-faced kid.

But Keyboarding 1 done me wrong.

You might wonder what’s wrong with me when you see me in the computer lab, you laugh at me when you come up behind me at my desk and I look at the keyboard and become tentative, freeze up.

Or in the newsroom on a Mac ���� soft and screwy keys that are easy to mis-hit, or is that mis-push?

It’s neither; it’s called a typo. The agency is kindly displaced.

Still, don’t stand behind me while I’m typing please!

The problem with my typing might simply be that I think of each tap of a key as a “hit” or a “punch.” Each fingerstoke should caress the key: stroke it gently, fingers gliding in a nest of keys, bathing in a fingerbowl of letters.

No mention of this in Keyboarding 1.

The simple fact is this ���� Keyboarding 1 did not then, and most assuredly does not now, prepare America’s youth for the mental processes set spinning while at the keyboard. Distractions, mental lapses, all are to be expected while engaging in the act, but I quite simply am at a loss as to how to deal with them. Why is typing my one area of complete and utter failure as a student?

I mean, you should’ve seen this sentence before I fixed it.

Keyboarding 1, I feel bad my mom paid.

I can stare into space forever, but am unable to just sit here and type. My brain becomes overloaded with sentence fragments. I was never prepared for this kind of mental pressure.

And oh so many keys! The keyboard upon which I now type has 61 in the main body, while 43 more hover in satellite clusters. I have but 10 digits.

Keyboarding 1, you promised so much.

E-v-e-r-y … s-i-n-g-g-l-e … l-e-t-t-t-e-r-r. Unh! Half of them no good. Ten thoughts have passed through my head by the time I get it written down, and then I have to go back and fix it! It really should take less time to make more words.

Keyboarding 1, you lied to me.

If I wrote this out by hand first, it would be that much harder. I have to stare at the words for a long time before I can get them down ���� deciphering my stream-of-consciousness scrawl. And just now I started thinking too quickly and my fingers couldn’t keep up, next thing I know it takes eight seconds to write “next,” pounding it out n-e-e-x-c-t, with shaky fingers, looking at the keys the whole time.

Keyboarding 1. Oh, Keyboarding 1.

My girlfriend tosses words out over the keyboard like she’s playing a Mozart sonata ���� her e-mails burst with long lines and nimble, evenly-spaced thoughts. She never takes her eyes from the screen. Superior California education.

That fresh-faced summer I didn’t get credit for the class due to paperwork reasons ���� another lesson from which I learned nothing. I ended up taking Keyboarding 1 again in a cruddy room off of Smoker’s Alley. The smoke drew me out after class. It’s probably this repeat of the dimmest-witted of all courses that did me in ���� that’s another few dozen teenage smokes in this old buck’s pipes right there.

Keyboarding 1 – you prepared me for nothing, and now I hurt.