Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I was helping Glenna with her bibliography page tonight. We did what I'm sure myriad students do on a daily basis - we found a web site offering MLA formatting, typed in the book title, and clicked.

Presto Zingo! Instant MLA!

The other day, Nancy Pants and I were remembering what it was like to take a typing course. At my high school, the teacher had a desk with a control switch for the power to the electronic typewriters. When he needed to give instruction, he would cut the power to our machines so we were forced to listen. When we had a timed test, he would say, "Go!" and hit the power switch so that 25 typewriters would spring to life at the same moment. What a din! (I'll have to ask Nancy if they used electronic. Either way, I'm sure she had the same, loud cacophony.)

Our most gruesome recollection was centering a title on our page. With each title, we had to hit the spacebar all the way across the page to count each space to measure the page, then divide that by two and write down the number. We'd then count each character and space of our title, and then divide that by two and write that down. Back to the edge of the page we'd go and space bar, space bar, space bar all across the page to the first written amount, then backspace, backspace, backspace to the second written amount. Now we were ready to type our title!

If our friend talked to us as we were counting the spaces, we had to start over.

(I always asked my classmate, Carol Chin, for the math. She would growl at me for making her lose count, start over, then give me the math. Thank you, Carol!)

Setting the tabs, finding the margins, doing a justified text - what a nightmare. We'd break out rulers and pencils and erasers (Ok ok ok, Carol Chin would break out the ruler, pencil, and eraser) and figure it all out. Now it's just a couple of clicks and Presto Zingo! Instant tabs and margins! Here on The Internets, we don't even indent our paragraphs!

I saw a saying a few months ago that read, "Respect your parents. They finished high school without the internet."

Yeah! We sure did!

1 comment:

Jessica Leigh said...

I'm afraid my typing experience only goes as far back as Mavis Beacon.

Oh, and I still want a copy of this picture! Old photographs are my favorite!


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