02 September 2010

Mrs. Sartori

I've often said that my most important class in high school was Mrs. Sartori's class. She patiently taught each pimply faced, insecure high schooler how to properly type in nine weeks time.


asdf jkl;
add sad dad lad fad

Yeah. That's right. You remember.

And that was the nine weeks that has affected nearly every day of my life since then.
Can I say that for any other class? Let's think.

Learning to dissect a frog in Mrs. Adam's biology class? Nope. Not relevant.

Learning to write algebraic equations in Mrs. I-Can't-Remember's algebra class? No sirrie.

Learning correct punctuation in Mrs. Davis' English class? Well, that would be quite useful if I actually followed those rules. Instead I use lots of fragments. This would greatly discourage Mrs. Davis.

Learning to write a report using almost entirely direct quotes from my health book in Mr. Kletrovetz's health class? Not generally useful. Also slightly plagiaristic. Will you forgive me, Mr. Klet?

But learning to type with the correct fingers under a cardboard box hiding my view? Yes. YES. This has greatly influenced my life.
Can you imagine if I still 'hunted and pecked' the letters out on the keyboard? I'd still be trying to write that report about the lines of such and such architecture in Art History class my freshman year in college. (Wow... that was an accidental reminder of yet ANOTHER class that seems to have lost all relevance to life...)

I haven't even reached the reason I started writing this post.


Get to the point, wouldja Suz?

Okay. Here's the point:

I have recently learned that it is incorrect to put TWO spaces after the punctuation mark that ends a sentence. The correct spacing is only ONE space!

[world crashing down around me]

Here is the explanation in the words of Grammar Girl:

Here's the deal: Most typewriter fonts are what are called monospaced fonts. That means every character takes up the same amount of space. An "i" takes up as much space as an "m," for example. When using a monospaced font, where everything is the same width, it makes sense to type two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence to create a visual break. For that reason, people who learned to type on a typewriter were taught to put two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence.

But when you're typing on a computer, most fonts are proportional fonts, which means that characters are different widths. An "i" is more narrow than an "m," for example, and putting extra space between sentences doesn't do anything to improve readability.

Get it? Do you people even care?

Wait. Don't answer that.

I digress.

See, the thing is, I didn't learn on a typewriter, I learned on a computer. But I was still taught the old way. And now here I am trying to re-train my fingers.
It is really hard to retrain my fingers. As in... impossibly hard. Cause it's really my brain that needs re-trained... the hidden, deep, stuff-happens-without-actually-thinking part of my brain. I actually might not even try. I can hear my kids now, when they're pimply faced and insecure... "Mom, you're embarrassing me... would you please stop putting two spaces after the periods when you email my teachers? You're so old-school..."

Ha! That is a funny thought. And impossible, cause my perfect children will never be pimply faced or insecure, right?


So, even though I might or might not try to re-teach my thumbs to punch that spacebar once instead of twice at the end of a sentence (or fragment), I'd still like to give a big virtual shout out to Mrs. Sartori... she has, no doubt, shaved years off my life by teaching me how to type with great speed and accuracy.

And for that I owe her my life. Well, not really. But maybe I owe her a gift certificate or something...

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