I have made two new additions to my life, as of today. Each is equally distant, and yet still shares some kind of relation. First of all, I have decided to try and type on my Microsoft Word program with the same care as I did when I first learned to type on a manual typewriter. Secondly, Kim had a spare “Fitbit” lying around, and I strapped that thing on this morning, in some effort to gain insight into how healthy (or unhealthy), I really am.
I would hate to comment as to when the first typewriter was invented, and I don’t feel like looking it up. I would imagine that it was in the early 1800’s, and I do know that even though the keystrokes became easier with the passage of time, it was not until the electric models that typing became a physically easy task. Up until the plug in models, to impress a character upon the page meant that the operator had to supply all power and the dexterity to direct that power down through the key(s) and through the mechanical chain, ending in the impression onto the paper through a ribbon of ink. Even still, it was not until the invention of the word processor in mid-1980’s that “mistakes” were no longer “mistakes”. Before the advent of a digitized screen, auto-correct, and printers, mistakes were obvious and corrected in one of two different methods: white-out and/or a complete re-typing of the page.
This also applied equally to margins, punctuation, and anything related to format and presentation. In my first round at college, the term paper was carefully typed, bound, and presented to the professor in hard copy. ANY flaw (whether a type-o, or a run in the ink caused by a stray raindrop) in the production and then preservation of the piece was noticed and reflected in the grade. Nowadays, kids simply refine a word document and email a flawless copy to any number of recipients.
I have no doubt that this blasé attitude at production degrades the content, while improving the end product. How? It is simply human nature. In the past, for one to produce quality content meant to actually “think” about what one intended to type… before they actually typed it. It was not uncommon to scribble out pages and notes in longhand prior to ever setting them to print. Of course, there were always those who would type anywhere from 1-50 revisions, I suppose simply because they enjoyed typing.
Even still, it was never my prerogative to type up any more than was necessary. And so, if I still had them, I would imagine that what many of my early pieces may have lacked in quality or witty insight, they more than made up for in sheer quality, form, and readability.
In short, we used to have to THINK about what we were putting down… and I think that if one were to try and in some small way, replicate that simply by THINKING about what and how they type, before they type, then the product will be that much better.
My job requires me to spend an amazing amount of time on my feet, walking around job sites that are several hundred thousand square feet, checking on things, making notes, and then doing it all again. I joked the other week that I probably walk around 40-50 miles a day, and that I eat nutritiously, and that I’m a healthy guy. In an effort to not only discredit my claims but to also set me on the straight and narrow, my wife found an extra Fitbit and is making me wear it. I’m sure that this will show once and for all that my heart rate is NOT always a healthy 66 beats per minute, that I eat way too many calories, and that I don’t walk 250 miles per week.
In short, the Fitbit will maybe… just maybe keep me honest enough to understand that I might need to make some changes, especially as a pass into my mid-40’s.
The Relationship Between The Two
Both of these innovations, one that is old and the other which is new, are related inasmuch that by paying attention to both, my life and my writing will be made to be “more honest” and hopefully will produce a better end product. If I treat my digital keyboard as carefully as I did the clickety-clack typewriter in my High School typing class, my writing will be better structured, have fewer miss-spells, grammatical errors, and should hopefully be… better. Likewise, by paying attention to the Fitbit, I will eventually have to admit that a frozen pizza and 12 Diet Pepsi’s is not a healthy lunch, breakfast, or dinner! Also, just because I “feel” like I’ve walked 50 miles, does not mean that I’ve walked 10, 20, or even 30 miles. In so doing, I will have to find other real and proven avenues for my physical fitness– however painful that might be.
Post Script: Even though I took my time, and typed carefully, there are numerous blue squiggly lines under a few words… and I see absolutely nothing wrong with any of them, so they’re staying- NO auto review!
Let the games begin!