Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Two-finger typing and the insert button

If two-finger typing is inappropriate typist behavior, I am a very, very naughty word-processor.

Like most, I learned and was tested on the correct, 10-finger technique in elementary school. I passed all the tests with mostly grit and some cheating, graduated elementary school, then regressed to two-finger typing. I have never looked back, and don't intend to.

It's curious because, in other realms of life, I tend to complicate instead of simplify. In this case of digit usage, however, I have reduced 10 down to 2, and, indubitably, simplified a technique that best operates in its original state of complexity.

I suppose my issues with the 10-finger technique are that it requires more motor skills and also an acquired spacial knowledge of they keys. When I was a kid, I had trouble configuring my fingers in the two disparately sized holes of a pair of scissors, and ever since then I have regularly been convinced that some of my motor skills are, for lack of a better word, retarded. Similarly, my overall spacial capabilities lack a certain direction, if you will. These being true, I can see why I fluctuated from proper typing technique.

An additional and perhaps my most hindering typing handicap is my inability to move my ring and pinky fingers separately from each other. They are partners, and they do everything together. If one is erect, the other is erect. If one is relaxed, the other follows suit. If one presses a key, you can damn well bet the other presses a key. If I hit a "p" with my pinky, I get an obligatory "o" from my ring finger, and vice versa. I can't be having to backspace and delete every time I am "supposed" to be using my pinky and ring finger. What sort of a life would that be? I'll leave the partnership alone and overwork my two index fingers, for this is the way things are destined to be for me.

An important item in this discussion is whether thumbs are fingers. I use my thumb to hit the spacebar, so, if thumbs are indeed fingers, I am a three-finger typist, which is a single step closer to typing righteousness. Thumbs are opposable, so I don't know that they are considered fingers. I'll Google it.

Apparently a thumb is a digit, but not a finger. So, I am a two-finger and a three-digit typist. I'll take that as it stands.

Besides the technical irreverence that comes with being a two-finger typist, there is one additional problem: the fringe keys. The fringe keys are cold, distant locations for a two-finger typist. It's a long journey for the index finger to the p, z, q, and /, one which requires extreme caution. Not only is there a high probability for a mistype, but when the index fingers are at the fringe, the pinky and ring fingers are off the map into uncharted and treacherous territory. Someone like me with clumsy and connected distal digits runs a very real risk of striking those keys which no one ever strikes: the home key, the end key, the num lock key, the pg dn key, the ` key, the fn key. And, the most feared of all, the insert key.

The insert key is evil. It was placed on the keyboard for wicked and malicious reasons, most likely by a malevolent and disgruntled keyboard maker with malice and hatred in his heart. If you're a "proper" typist, you don't care about the insert key, because you rarely hit it, and if you do, you are being proper and looking at the screen as you type, so you can catch the disaster before it becomes irreversible. Good for you. For those of us who are imperfect, we must look at the keys as we type and only occasionally check to make sure the message is being sent from keys to screen. When insert is engaged, irrevocable damage is done to the imperfect typist's typing. When he finally notices, as if on queue, everything freezes; pinky, ring, index, everything. Only his eyeballs are now in motion, repeatedly scanning the disaster that is the sentence(s) he has been obliviously editing, unaware that insert has been obliterating his world the whole time. He wants to punish his pinky, scold it for its incaution, but it looks so innocent, so inoffensive, that he just tells it to be more careful next time. There is always, however, a certain rate of error for an untrained and fringe-occupying digit. It is par for the course in the life of a two-finger typist.