Friday, September 18, 2009

12-Point Font for that?

I first took typing in the 7th grade at Kirby Junior High School in St. Louis.  I took to it immediately and banged out perfect papers.  And "bang them out" is pretty much how it happened, as we all sat in a room (unairconditioned, at that... gawd, i'm old) full of mechanical typewriters.

I remember my maternal grandmother saying, in her slow Southern Illinois drawl, "welllll, that's niiice.  That way you knooow you'll allwaaaays haaave a job."  This was followed by a nod that I'm sure was meant to be reassuring, God rest her sweet soul.

In my youthful arrogance, I thought, "pfffft!  Lady, I'm going far!  I'll have people for that!"

And being a lightening-fast typist has served me well in life.  I flew through getting papers done in high school.  Well, okay -- having a mom who worked at what was then McDonnell Douglas and asking her to transform my hand-scrawled notes into beautiful reports sometimes helped too.  And in college, I earned a few extra bucks typing up other folks' hand-scrawled notes.

I can also spell, and bad grammar makes my skin crawl.

You get the picture.

As I worked my way through college in the TV Production field, being able to type quickly and accurately made me helpful and handy when typing in names, titles, stock prices, pledge numbers, what-have-you at various TV stations around Peoria.  And these minimum-wage jobs (this was when it was a whopping $4.25/hr -- gawd, i'm old) kept me motivated to look for my first "real" job.  The one where I would "have people for that."

Want to guess what my first "real" job was?  The first one that brought me to the glamorous world of downtown Chicago? 

Typing scripts.

But one thing led to another.  And from that crappy --yet air-conditioned -- job came a slightly less crappy job.  And then a bit of a better one.  And then I got to try doing that project.  They let me use a phone to book talent, even a studio.  I got to produce a few things.  I got to feel mildly important inside of a strange microcosm that gives itself lots of rewards for selling deoderant, beer, diapers, prescription drugs, etc.

So what's your point, Val?

When I was in this microcosm, I met a cute guy down the hall.  And he worked in a Chicago Public School.  As a result, he did not have handy access to a computer at the time.  He had graduated from college years before.  He could peck his way around a keyboard, but it took forever.  He couldn't spell his way out of a paper bag (ironic for an English teacher, eh?).  His tests were hand-written -- the horror!

So what did I do after a few dates with the cute guy down the hall?  I invited him downtown after school so that I could type up his tests for him on my shiny corporate computer in my Stuart Little-sized cubicle.  He could take me out for a bite as thanks.  What's not romantic about that? (eye roll)

Seriously, Val.  The point already? Any point at all will do.

The point is that it is now about fourteen years later (gawd, i'm old).  And I am still typing to earn my keep!  (ok, it's only one of about 100 things i do, and it pales next to the 1,000 things he does).

Urban Dad informed me that recommendation letter season has started -- he has AP Juniors, so they come back as Seniors and ask for recco's for the college apps.  And bless his big heart if he doesn't use a form letter, but writes one out for each and every sweet darling.

And he has two tests to get together.

And I think some other stuff.

So you see, folks?  My grandmother is laughing her butt off at my arrogant dumb self!  And that's okay, 'cause I kind of am too.

See you after the weekend!


Uptown Girl said...

Turns out those typing skills help you now in the most important and "realest" job you could have as wife and mother. (I think I just made up a word, but you know what i mean).
It sounds like you 2 complement each other really well... presh!

rita said...

Ah, the "good" old days when my school had two electric typewriters that we got to use one week out of the school year; all the others were manual. I was given a manual when I graduated from high school and I thought it was the coolest gift ever. I might even still have that thing somewhere.

And I'm a hell of a lot older than you are!

Mothership said...


Hen Jen said...

sweet story, I think!

I typed up all my dh's applications to med school, and his essays and polished them up a bit. I realized then that I was his secretary, which is okay, we work well as a team!

Anonymous said...

Should I recognize that cubicle?


Urban Mom said...

Hi George! Nope, that's just something that I stole off of a Google search. But the first cubicle that I had on the 2nd floor in Broadcast Business was about that size.

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