: weak fingers are my achilles heel :

In a recent job search, I was outed as a clumsy, weak-fingered, hunt-and-pecker. In other words, I took a typing test.

At the end of said test I was ushered into a cubicle and presented with the results: a dismal 40 wpm. Then they subtracted the one measly typo, resulting in an even more dismal 39 wpm. Visions of lucrative job offers did not dance in my head.

There, in that cramped, windowless cube, Truman Capote is what came to mind. After he’d read On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Capote, who was a spiteful, bitter, little man, huffed, “That’s not writing — that’s typing.”

Well, I’ll never be accused of that, because I have weak fingers. Weak ankles, too, but that’s another post altogether. My fingers are stiff, troublesome things, refusing to do what I want them to, go where I want them to go. I can’t type, I can’t play the piano, I can’t knit, sew, draw, or use a touchscreen. Shoot, I can’t even hang on to my car keys; I keep dropping them, like bad habits.

Maybe it’s not weakness so much as really bad aim, you know? I rarely hit the key I’m headed for when I try to type like a grown-up. My fingers, instead, lurch around spastically, eventually crash landing on every key except the one I wanted. Sometimes hitting two or three at a time.

And, when the planets are right, my fingers land in configurations that turn out to be computer commands. I’ve done things like turn on the voiceover function — that annoying computer-generated voice that narrates every mouse click and dialogue box and keystroke — without a clue how to turn it off. I’ve also enlarged the screen size by something like two thousand percent — again, with no idea how to undo it.

While that’s irritating, it doesn’t compare to the disaster my fingers would cause in a life threatening situation. They wouldn’t, for example, cling bravely to a helicopter’s landing strut or a balcony railing for dear life. No, not for a second. They’d send me and my car keys plummeting earthward without a second thought. I can’t trust fingers like that, they’ll kill me given the opportunity.

I’ve tried strength training. I’ve tried squeezing stress balls. I’ve tried typing classes. Nothing, no improvement. So what do I do? I keep them at arm’s length and refuse to take my eyes off them.

Copyright © Publikworks 2012

28 thoughts on “: weak fingers are my achilles heel :

  1. 39 wpm? great! i am maybe at 13/mistakes excluded (now you know why my comments are so short), but sometimes i have to play with keys like ä, ù, é, š … + same thing in caps


  2. Ah, you’ve struck another chord for me. More than fifty years after my only typing class, I still average only about 40 wpm.

    According to experts, the way to increase your speed is to keep typing until the piece is finished, then go back to fix errors. They claim this will, eventually, let you type faster with fewer errors.

    My problem is the fact that my OCD brain will not let me continue to type past a mistake. I am trained just well enough to KNOW when I’ve hit the wrong key and I freeze up.

    It is better on a keyboard than it was on a typewriter. At least, how I can backspace to fix the mistake instead of taking my fingers off the keys, moving the carriage, applying the eraser (A kind of wheel made out of hard rubber mounted in a metal sleeve with a little brush attached – now help me find my walker so I can totter off to bed.) or white-out, moving the carriage back into place and searching for the correct finger positions again. Back then I was lucky to get 25 wpm.

    Great Post, wonderful sense of humor. Nothing stinks here. :-)


    1. I’m right there with you, Melody. Well, minus the correct finger position, of course — I only use two of them, you know. That’s why I was pretty impressed with the 39 wpm score. Unfortunately, no one else was and I didn’t get the job. ~ sigh ~

      I’m so relieved you liked it and even more relieved it doesn’t stink. phew! Thank you : )


  3. I know I’m showing my age…but I remember when the IBM Selectric typewriter was introduced. Such innovation! No more jammed keys! Then when they included a white-out strip IN THE TYPEWRITER ITSELF if was absolute heaven on earth.

    Excuse me now while I shuffle off to the retirement village’s rec room…

    Great post Lisa. You’ve definitely gotten your mojo back.


    1. Hi, Jo! I’m showing my age, too. I actually worked on an IBM Selectric at my first grown-up job way back when. That was an absolute luxury after all the Smith Coronas.

      I wish I shared your confidence in my mojo. But it took forever, and I mean for freaking ever, to get this hammered into publishable shape. It’s nice to know I succeeded, though. Yay and thanks!


    1. How I envy you. If my fingers were well-behaved, I wouldn’t mind the ankles and knees and hair and concentration so much. Maybe. Thanks for stopping in, Sarah, it was good to hear from you. Thanks.


  4. Sorry …… but, LOL, Not nice. I have a disease induced finger problem and am now attempting to use voice activated software. Friggin’ frustrating :)


    1. Hi, Roly. I’m sorry about that, I can only imagine your frustration. Maybe one day soon voice activation will get all the bugs worked out? Wouldn’t that be nice? Hang in there.


  5. I’m giving the keyboard five more years tops, then all you will need is your voice (this may or may not save you while clinging to a ledge).


    1. Hahahaha, it’ll probably just yell ‘get down from there’ or something equally unhelpful. You leave such great comments, ww, thank you : )


  6. I have been taking typing classes since first grade believe it or not. Well I stopped after high school. I thought they were beyond ridiculous and it was stupid that school made me do it. But now I am ever grateful.


    1. Wow, you started early. That’s really impressive, nc. I wish had, too. Maybe not first grade, but sooner than a senior in high school. How fast can you type?


    1. Hi, Christine! I’m with you a hundred percent; I hope no one ever has to cling to a helicopter’s landing strut. Not even in the movies — yikes! Thanks for dropping in, it was lovely to see you. Please come back often.


  7. You remember typewriters, right Lisa? When you mentioned the hitting the letters two or three at a time, I laughed. Well, I laughed in others spots, too. Still, the visual of the old typewriters and the metal keys jamming, because my fingers were too spastic. H tangled up with I, and D tangled up with L. It was never ending, and so much Liquid Paper was required.

    Please avoid mid-air stunts, OK? Thanks.


    1. I do remember typewriters, I got a ‘D’ in the only typing class I ever took. My teacher was feeling generous, I guess. There’s something diabolical about keyboards, LD — whether it’s a typewriter or a computer or a touchscreen, my fingers go all wonky when confronted with one : ( And, yes, I’ll avoid mid-air acrobatics. I promise.


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