Sometimes when you’re typing, your wires get crossed up and you make a mistake, and then all of a sudden you’re thinking about where your fingers go. Slows you right down, it does. But then muscle memory does its job, and you’re back. Those slow moments are so interesting, though, because normally when you’re typing, you don’t think about where your fingers are going. You just hit the right letter at the right time. It’s almost like it’s a blur. But at those slow times when you’re uncertain, it can feel downright weird to type those keys. And you have to concentrate to do it. And then after a second or three of that, muscle memory kicks in, and away you go. I don’t know. I just thought it was interesting. And I’m not wrong.
That all refers to touch typing, incidentally. I learned to touch type in 1998, and it is the single most useful skill I have ever learned in my entire life. There’s no competition.
One time, in a professional setting, a guy asked me how I learned to type. And I told him, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. And he was like, “I didn’t know people actually used that.” I thought it was kinda funny. I don’t remember how he said he learned to type. Back in those days, recall, they used to give you a buncha software when you bought a PC. Most people threw most of it away. There was usually like maybe one “big” product, that you might actually use, but the rest tended to be garbage. Mavis Beacon was almost always in those packages. So it’s no wonder the guy thought it was garbage. To be perfectly honest, it was a little bit garbage. But it was an effective way for me to learn to type, which is the whole point, really.
I tried a version of Mavis when I was helping Marnie learn to type, and they didn’t do so well with it. They didn’t like the games. ‘Cause there were games. Games in which you typed things. And if you hit the wrong letter, the mouse falls off the block. Or whatever the fuck it is. The frog falls off the lily pad. Shit like that. Sometimes you had to type things quickly, and Marnie really didn’t like those ones. So we switched to a different program, I think it was web-based and free, and Marnie did a lot better with that. Did it work? I can’t remember when I had Marnie learn typing, but several years afterwards, I asked them if they still used touch typing, and the answer was basically, “Sort of.” They organically developed their own thing, which combines elements of touch typing with elements of hunt-and-peck. I think that’s probably how most people type. It’s an approach that works. Marnie said they were glad to have had the typing training, that it was helpful to them. So that’s generally positive.