Ever make a mistake that came back to haunt you just about every day of your entire life?
I did, and I made it in high school. This mistake has stuck with like a wool sweater on a 90 degree day. When I tell you what I did, it may not seem like such a bad thing to do as mistakes go… but then again maybe you made the same bad choice as well. What makes me scratch my head though is ……..the thing I did isn’t even a thing today…kids today don’t even know about the thing I made the bad choice about.
If you are wondering what caused me to make the choice I made that day, it was simply a feeling that I’d had enough. Enough of the bang, bang, bang, clickety-clack, ding, ding of ancient Remingtons, Triumphs, Vosses and Cole Steel typewriters. The sticky keys and entangled hammers assaulting sagging spools of ribbon cloth saturated with black Indian ink.
The world of business typing 101 was not my world… never ever could I envision myself spending even a minute of my life behind a typewriter. So I stood up…grabbed my books and walk straight out the door never looking back. I divorced myself of all ties to that experience … done …finished.
As I made my way down the corridor towards Miss Brownrigg’s (my guidance councilor) office to finalize my divorce, I heard a voice calling me “Don Ferguson” over student voices chanting DDD – space, HHH- space, FFF – space, JJJ – space….
Where do you think you are going young man?
I’m going to my guidance councilor’s office to drop this class… that’s where..
Why? Typing is something you will need no matter the profession you choose. You’ll always need typing skills, she warned.
I thought to myself …A warning ignored …is like a devils reward…
Typing??? I said… I’m going to be a cop… If I have to type something I’ll ask a secretary…
Mrs. Oneil didn’t blink… neither a wince nor an involuntary grimace… I could read her thoughts though as well as you can read the look in her eyes (see picture) … Her eyes said: This boy is nought but folly’s slave, From the cradle to the grave.
She knew what I did not. Experience had taught her what she was prepared to teach me. But I was not able to see what she had already known to be true.
I never learned to type without looking at the keys. I did learn however, that secretaries don’t type out police reports or police shift reports. After my law enforcement days where traded for a career in business, I found that I have had my hands on a keyboard just about every day of my life. Apart from using a pen to scribble Home Depot and Market Basket shopping list notes on paper (which I tend forget on the kitchen table) I am typing something every day.
In hindsight, I know I’ve learned from my mistake. I regret the years I could have looked so, so so, cool typing away, eyes closed, swaying my head joyfully back and forth to the rhythm of the keys like Stevie Wonder.
They say you are never too old to learn but, I know for sure if you asked Mrs. O’Neil, she’d tell you this old dog has a better chance at finding his car keys than keeping his eyes off the typewriters keys.