The Selectric

I kicked ass in my high school personal typing class. The half-year class had a self-explanatory purpose — it was designed to teach you how to use a typewriter, as opposed to the yearlong office typing class designed to train future secretaries — and in those pre-computer days, all of the college-bound kids at my high school took personal typing. None of them were better than me: I typed 63 words a minute, with no errors, after only one semester. In personal typing class (if nowhere else), I was The Man.

My weapon of choice was the IBM Selectric. With its incredible keyboard and typing ball (as opposed to the electric typewriters that were essentially powered-up manual models), the Selectric was a mean, lean typing machine. When I was in ‘the zone’ on the Selectric, I could type almost as fast as I could read.

Personal computers have made typewriters largely useless, but the Selectric still has its fans. However, this is just creepy.

12/08 update:  I stumbled across an online typing speed test tonight and found I allegedly can type more than 90 words a minute. I find that rather difficult to believe. I will say, though, that speed of typing is the major reason I can write relatively fast. I run across reporters all of the time who might as well be pounding their keyboards with their fists, and you can imagine the challenges they face on a tight deadline.


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