Monday, March 14, 2011

The Quick Brown Fox

I sit before my computer, fingers flying across the keys. When did this skill of flying fingers begin? Well, it began with Mr. Beard and typing class.

I sat in the second row at my desk with the clunky, black typewriter in front of me. We looked at the chart in front of the room and not our fingers as we practiced text. 'T". The key was pushed down firmly until the key smacked the ribbon and printed the "T" on my paper. Letter by letter. "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." Line after line on my paper. Finger on key. Push down. Hope for a good imprint on the paper. Over and over. Man, I had fingers so strong they could choke a chicken.

Many years ago I was late to a typing test qualifying me for a job. Computers were new to me, and I was nervous. Quickly, I tried to set up when the instructor said "Start". Our typed copy did not show up on our monitors, so we had no idea what fell onto the page.

"Well, you did well, the instructor said when I was called forward. "Next time put your fingers on the right keys. You had them on the bottom row."

Thank goodness she had a sense of humor.

Over time, I became the computer guru in our office. The computer became my friend. I'd come a long way from Mr. Beard's typing class.

Last spring I stood at the door of Ernest Hemingway's office where he wrote in Key West. I stood there alone pressing against the door away from the rain behind me. I stood in awe. The old black Remington typewriter sat on a small desk in the middle of the room, walls covered with art. Windows surrounded the room with palm trees peeking in. A cat sat in one windowsill, a six-toed cat descendant of the original cat given to Hemingway by a ship's captain. The writer in me wanted to sit at the typewriter like the one I learned on those many years before. The old black Remington.

I wonder what happened to all of those old typewriters. I didn't know at the time where those old, heavy keys would guide me. I didn't know they would guide me here.

"The quick brown fox......."

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