September 12, 2020:

Clickety clack clack clack.

We're at desks before old Royal manual typewriters from the 1950s, with black ribbons and keys that can't wait to jam. We're in fifth or sixth grade and they're teaching us something useful: a skill we'll use later in life.

It seems unusual to teach typing to males. In the business world where typewriters exist the skilled laborers who operate them are female. They're called "secretaries". They type, take shorthand, make coffee, answer phones. Men don't do any of those things. They hire women helpers to do them on their behalf.

But this is a nonstandard class. We're the gifted, singled-out from third grade as the children who will go on to university. Perhaps they're preparing us to one day type our dissertations, or the books we'll eventually publish.

I don't enjoy typing. I'm fairly slow and make many mistakes. Still, I credit this grammar school instruction with every job I've ever had. If you can type you can program. The typing's actually harder.