Click click click click click click…. Ding!
I often credit my mom with teaching me how to type quickly and accurately. The truth is, while my mom’s expertise was the foundation for my computer literacy, I think that acquiring a Smith-Corona was the impetus for me to type smarter. Sure, speed is excellent, especially in our fast-paced world; but no one talks about accuracy. Almost every software program on modern computers includes spellcheck and/or autocorrect features. So, why bother learning perfection if a program does it for you? …Are we really evolving into a half-assed population?
I will be bold enough to suggest that all young people should learn to type on an old, loud, rickety typewriter to learn a skill rather than muscle memory alone. Keyboards aren’t fit for children for several reasons: they aren’t posture-sensitive, peak no curiosity, and there’s not emphasis on the human touch when using a computer. Shall we dig deeper, darlings?
Unless keyboards and computer desks are specially prepared with wrist rests, a proportionate chair, and other fixings, children are bound to develop a slouch or scoliosis (like Harpie, who is critically conscious of her sitting position right now). No school is going to spend extra money on non-necessities, and likely would instead blame scoliosis on desks and lack of activity. With typewriters, they are far more elevated, which defaults the children to sit up straight to see what they’re doing.
Which brings another point into perspective: the little learners will want to engage with the odd-shaped contraption because this isn’t your boring-ass MacBook (sorry Manny Dylan, but your computer doesn’t ding after I type each line). It makes new sounds, looks different, and produces lettering that is standard (much like that fancy Times New Roman in 12-point font) but unique from a printer’s methods.
Last on my venting list for the shameless promotion of typewriters is just that! Feeding a printer and seeing your work on a screen is completely devoid of human contact! Writing is an art, an expression, and most importantly, it is a form of contact. I’ll bet you’d be far more thrilled with someone who took care enough to use a typewriter to send a letter than someone who typed and printed a few messages on your letterhead. It simply has deeper meaning. Children will learn that. Over time, they will notice and learn to appreciate it. The revival of the writing bug will extend itself past the typewriters and expand to the boosting of cultural and heritage morale.
All just because you (collectively) taught those children to type first on a typewriter. It’s cool. It’s nifty. Typewriters can be teachers. Embrace the clickety clackety beasts!
Thanks to the People’s Store in Lambertville NJ for their photogenic typewriters! I’m still swooning over the Remingtons.