JOE WEBB AND CO. – THE WRITTEN WORLD

LESSON #41: MEET MAVIS BEACON

Posted in Lessons by The Books Production Team on December 3, 2008

LESSON #41: MEET MAVIS BEACON

typewriter3          You want to know what I don’t understand?  I don’t understand how it is humanly possible to be a college student in the twenty-first century and to not know how TO fucking TYPE.  Seriously, it’s not as if computers are going anywhere, and every time you punch out your paper with two fingers, you’re just throwing hours of your life away.  I’ve spent the last twenty minutes sitting here (and I can afford to take this time to stop and think because I type 70 words a minute), trying to come up with the proper parallel for not knowing how to type and/or typing with two fingers, and here’s what I’ve got: this phenomenon is like… a) not knowing how to drive if you live in Los Angeles, and/or b) only knowing two guitar chords if you are a songwriting musician.  Now, I hear your silly arguments – right now as you read this, you’re saying to yourself (if you are one of the students I see doing the two-finger keyboard shuffle in the computer lab every day), “It’s possible to get the job done adequately with only two fingers.  I’ve been doing it for years.”  And to a certain extent, you’re right, it is possible – just like Vinnie Chase somehow manages to survive in LA without a driver’s license and that song by Jane’s Addiction where the girl is “done with Sergio” somehow became a hit – but it’s not recommended.  So, if you’ve been procrastinating learning this life skill for the last 19 years, today’s the day to bite the bullet and learn how to use all ten fingers when you write.  Unless, that is, you accidentally blew off the other eight fingers in a childhood fireworks accident, in which case, this lesson becomes a little irrelevant.

          Now, assuming your parents were responsible and didn’t let you play with fireworks as a small child, and you decide to take this important step of learning the art of keyboard wizardry – what do you do?  Well, there are a couple of possibilities.  The first is enroll in some sort of class on campus that teaches keyboarding, and if your college doesn’t offer one, then to visit either the local community college or the local adult education center.  But I can understand the reasons why this may not be your cup of tea.  So the next best option, and the one that I would recommend that most of you take, is to introduce yourself to Mavis Beacon.  Who is this lovely lady?  Why, she’s only the (fictionally constructed) grand-dame of twentieth century typing, that’s all!  You see, all the way back in the stone age of 1987, “she” started a company dedicated to helping students just like you learn the proper way to type by introducing them to software designed to teach them all the basics of the home row, and in the process she’s made countless papers move more swiftly, and millions of dollars.  In fact, what Tom Brunansky is to Little League Baseball and Rodney Yee is to Yoga, Mavis Beacon is to the QWERTY keyboard.  She’s wonderful, she’s kind, and she offers a number of games you can play if you buy her software – so go to the nearest Staples and introduce yourself.  It will make you a more efficient student.

          Now, before I take off for the day, I’ve got one little request.  The first piece of advice was for you, and overall, of course, that’s the point of this website, to offer you information that will be helpful in your collegiate life.  Personally, I suppose, it doesn’t make much of a difference to me how long you take to type your papers as long as they make it to my desk on time.  So learning to type is really something that you need to do for yourself.  There is, however, something that you can do for Dr. Wizard.  While you’re at Staples, meeting Mavis Beacon, do me a favor: buy a backup black ink cartridge for your computer and a fucking stapler.  As Lesson #13 makes perfectly clear, my biggest pet peeve is the student who wears too much cologne to class.  Students who turn in unstapled papers printed in blue or purple ink, however, run a close second.  And I promise you this: among your professors, I am not alone in this hatred.  The beautiful part about this proposal is that neither of these two items is very expensive, and they will both raise you in your professors’ esteem immeasurably.  Or, if you happen to be a University of Scranton or Wilkes University student interning at the Scranton Business Park, you can probably pick up Dwight’s stapler in the Dunder-Mifflin vending machine for a dollar – which is better still.

          Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.  And like Paul Harvey says, Good Day!

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11 Responses

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  1. Gina Palazzo said, on December 3, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    You’re right, Dr. Wizard! I just listened to “Jane Says” and it’s only the two chords. Good pickup.

  2. Greece Lightning said, on December 3, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    “Oh, look at me, I’m Dr. Wizard and I type a gazillion words a minute! If you were cool like me then you would too.”

    Hey asshole, if you don’t like my two-finger typing style, I’ll take my comments somewhere else. …and I’m just kidding. It’s good advice, I really wish my pinky wasn’t permanently atrophied. It’s basically too retarded to type for real.

  3. Agnes A Murphy said, on December 4, 2008 at 1:46 am

    I don’t understand why anyone would take the time to learn. Then again, I was required in both middle school and high school to take a typing course. And Mavis Beacon was fun when I like six years old.

  4. Chris said, on December 4, 2008 at 4:03 am

    The Good Lord didn’t bless my wife with all ten fingers. She’s only got “Pointer”, and “Thumb-Pinkie”…

  5. Jenn said, on December 4, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Thank God for typing classes in high school. I can still picture that lady, ” aa space aa space…..”

  6. Jenn said, on December 4, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Thank God for typing classes in high school. I can still picture that lady, ” aa space aa space…..”

  7. drwizard said, on December 4, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I have now received three emails letting me know that the little league baseball guru is Tom Emanski, not Tom Brunansky. Thanks for looking out!

    Also, I have an authoritative inside source which tells me that neither of them can type to save their lives.

  8. Charlie said, on December 4, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    It’s amazing the quality of the craftsmanship that those three little appendages can create, huh Chris? I wish someone would make me a pair of scrub shorts…

  9. MS said, on December 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I wonder if online universities require a certain level of typing proficiency. Either way, good looking out on the stapler/ink cartridge front.

  10. Jonesin' For a Collegiate Fix said, on December 5, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    The St. Louis Cardinals were a mediocre ball club until they acquired “Bruno”. Nevertheless, most anyone will concede that Tom Brunansky was the poor man’s Dale Murphy.

    On the flip side, Tom Emanski’s only equal on this entire planet is the sweet-swinging John Olerud…they’re both big fans of players wearing helmets while hitting AND fielding. I know this because Tom Emanski is my uncle on my mother’s side and he always made me do my defensive drills in a batting helmet. I felt weird rifling balls from center into a trash can with a helmet on but would you argue with the guy who who single-handedly developed BACK to BACK to BACK National Champions? Me either.

  11. J. said, on January 25, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Ah, Mavis Beacon. That computer program, along with All the Right Type (which we had at my elementary school, and were required to play for a certain amount of time each week) taught me to type. And now, if I’m actually trying, I can get up to 90 wpm. I don’t know how people can live without knowing how to properly type.


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