Before his hand even made it off his desk, I had called him out with a "Hands to yourself, Mr. Taylor" and told him to get back to work, all without stopping my typed response. He stared at me incredulously for almost a full minute, waiting for me to finish what I was doing. After the quiz was over, he asked me if he could see what I had been working on because he didn't believe I was typing "real words". I couldn't show him because it was a work email about another student, but I asked him if he'd like to test me.
The whole class watched as I sat at my laptop, transcribing his words without stopping. They were in awe that I could not only type without looking at keys but that I could also correct my mistakes without going back to look at them.
I am an excellent typist. Mainly, I'm an excellent typist because I had an excellent typing teacher. And, yes, I took typing. On an actual typewriter. It was the dark days, indeed.
Coach Smith was our small school's art teacher, typing teacher, and head football coach -- a man of many talents, if you will. He referred to us as his Sweathogs, a nickname I have forever loved and continue to use at times. He also was sneaky-brilliant. See, I was a bit of a perfectionist at schoolwork then, and in order to correct something on the typewriter, you had to stop, backspace, insert a white-out strip, re-type the mistake, backspace, and type the correct letter, word, or sentence. Making mistakes was a time-consuming and irritating process, so I had a terrible habit of looking at my keyboard. This would elicit a reprimand of "eyes up, Nazworth" from Coach Smith every time.
Even if the man was reading the newspaper, he seemed to catch me.
And then one day, he sat a new student across from me. That student happened to be his son, Spencer, who happened to have the most gorgeous eyes on Earth. Now, I honestly don't know if Coach sat him across from me because it was the only open desk or because he knew I wouldn't talk to him (I was super-awkwardly shy AND a rule-follower while Spencer was an uber-popular cool kid). My guess is the latter, but what happened was I never looked at my keyboard again. I didn't necessarily stare at him, but I made sure to have my head up just in case I could sneak a quick peek or in case he needed to borrow a white-out strip. I didn't want to make mistakes, and I didn't want to miss a chance to gawk, so my only option was to become really, really good at typing.
And I did. Good enough to catch students doing all of the things they're not supposed to be doing when they assume I'm not looking.
See what I mean? Sneaky-brilliant.
So yesterday, as my class called out tricky words and phrases, trying to mess me up, this is the story I told. And then I reminded them that teachers really do always know what's best when it comes to seating charts.
Then I moved Mr. Flirty to a seat across from the starting center on the football team.
I'm kind of sneaky-brilliant too, now. Like I've said before, I learned from only the best.
(For all of you who haven't been exposed to the greatness that is
"Welcome Back, Kotter")
"Welcome Back, Kotter")