Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Home Keys

I learned to touch type
as a student at
Mark Twain Junior High
in Coney Island
New Yawk

We learned to touch type
through rote memory
of the typewriter keys
and through
constant repetition
of rote typing lessons and
mindless exercises

As a gutter snipe
from the low income
housing projects
I resisted my teacher’s
best efforts to teach me
this invaluable skill

At the time
I thought that
learning to type
was a sissy thing to do
a girly thing to do
not a manly thing to do

What earthly good
would learning
to touch type
do for me?
I was never
going to be an
office secretary
not that I had much
of an idea as to what
I could actually
aspire to
given my background  
given my lack of
No need to worry about
getting into college
(couldn’t pay for it
even if I was accepted)
or to some community college
or other
by some fluke

Against my better judgment
and despite being
passive aggressive with my teacher
and being chastised almost daily
for my malfeasance
I actually did manage to learn
the invaluable sissy skill
of touch typing

I pretty much owe
everything I am and
everything I ever hope to be
to my ability to
touch type

I have been touch typing now
for more than fifty years
first on the big clanky
and cumbersome
(check the Smithsonian museum
to see what these ancient
contraptions once looked like)
Then my first electric marvel and
all the way to
the IBM electric
(the Rolls Royce of its day)
and then eventually
even to computers!

I have even used
touch typing to
write this poem
Thank you Mrs. Lewis!
Will wonders never cease?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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