Now Is the Time… Lazy Dog

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.”

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.”

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Do those sentences look familiar to anyone?

If so, that likely means that at some point in your life you took a typewriting lesson.

The first sentence is meant to help a typist work on their speed. It was first proposed as a typing drill by instructor Charles E. Weller; its use is recounted in his book The Early History of the Typewriter, p. 21 (1918). Frank E. McGurrin, an expert on the early Remington typewriter, used it in demonstrating his touch typing abilities in January 1889.

The second sentence, using just 35 letters, still manages to use every letter in the alphabet. It was good practice for getting used to where all the keys were on a typewriter.

I remember taking a typewriting class one summer, just for personal enrichment, while I was in high school. It didn’t seem like the ideal way to spend a summer morning, but I guess in hindsight there was some value in having taken the course.

I was one of the worst students in the class, and at one point I was given one of the dreaded typewriters that did not have any of the keys labeled because I was always looking at the keys. It was quite challenging.

I think at least one of my sisters was in the class (both of them may have been, but I can’t remember), and so was my cousin from Ireland. They all put me to shame. I’m sure at some point I decided that girls were just better at typing than boys.

I don’t know if they teach typing in school anymore, and if they do, it’s certainly not on a typewriter.

I doubt if many kids in grade school today have ever seen a typewriter, and I’m not sure if any company is still making them.

I also remember taking a course in shorthand while in high school. It was a version of shorthand called notehand. This course was a regular high school course, so it counted towards graduation. I enjoyed this much more than typing, and to this day I still occasionally practice my notehand, just for fun, usually with song lyrics to see if I can keep up with a song.

Here is an example of some shorthand (I have no idea what it says, maybe if I tried I could figure out a few of the words):

I wonder if shorthand is still taught in school, but maybe we no longer need to when we can use phrases like LOL or IDK or IRL, often referred to as chatspeak.

So perhaps today those two typing instruction sentences above could be shortened to


I think I could probably type the two full sentences faster than trying to type them using chatspeak…


65 thoughts on “Now Is the Time… Lazy Dog

  1. I doubt they teach shorthand in school anymore. Heck, I’ve heard they don’t even teach longhand. But I remember those days in typing class, plunking away on an unlabeled keyboard. And as I recall, the girls were indeed faster than the guys.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think it is odd that they don’t teach cursive anymore. I guess a signature will become a thing of the past. The girls may have been faster typists, but the boys were better at smashing the typewriters when we got frustrated…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. i tried to take a typing class in high school and struggled through. later, in college, i bought the same book and taught myself, step by step, using those same sentences, but have never learned to type numbers without looking. now, i use kind of a hybrid hacking method to get things written. my mother wrote reminder notes to herself in shorthand and i got my friend who took the class to translate them for me. seems they were just the usual boring reminder notes )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess most of do better when we teach ourselves things. I don’t quite use all of my fingers when I type, so I guess I’ve got a hybrid approach as well.

      And I guess you thought you would find some juicy gossip in your mom’s notes!


  3. I immediately recognized the sentences and must assume that at some point in high school I took a typing class. I certainly don’t remember excelling at it. I am not a “touch” typist, but the years of work and writing has certainly increased my speed. So has the spelling check in my software. It allows me to type as fast as I would like and fix the errors at the end. I also think that shorthand may have become extinct, although I have my own weird version of shorthand which is writing so fast and cryptically that only I would ever be able to decipher it. But take the letters off the keyboard and I am hamstrung. Thank goodness it seems women are so competent at it….just like everything else I assume…😁 Fun post, Jim!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a writer and editor but never had to take typing (or shorthand) in school. I used the hunt-and-peck method through grad school and even through my first two jobs until it became obvious during job number three it was slowing me down and I needed to teach myself. I’m pretty sure there are a few keys I use the wrong fingers for, but my method works for me, which is all that matters, I suppose. I type a lot faster than any note-taking I do, and sadly, when I quickly jot down “great” ideas so I don’t forget them, I often can’t read what I wrote because I was too excited and pretty much just scribbled. Maybe I should teach myself shorthand, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Despite my taking the typing class, my typing eventually evolved the way it sounds like yours did. And I’ve never used shorthand for anything, other than for fun…

      and my handwriting has gotten worse over the years…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad I took typing way back then. Certainly made using a computer easier when they arrived. I would much rather type than write. Today they call the class keyboarding. I also studied shorthand but wasn’t so great at it. I was a awkward slow lefty writer. Very happy to forget that skill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Despite my lack of typing skills in the class, it was nice having that background when computers finally arrived. And I wonder if it was hard to learn shorthand as a lefty is the teacher was teaching from a righty’s perspective…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was definitely hard to learn shorthand as a lefty. The instructor warned us lefties before the first class. Especially lefties curled their hand around to accommodate being taught to print and write with the scribbler angled in the same direction as for right-handed kids, which was the norm back then.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember the sentences but do not recall taking typing at least not as a full length course. I am a terrible typist and a worse speller. Thank god for spell check.

    One amazing form of shorthand that still exists (I think) is the system used by court reporters who transcribe verbatim the proceedings in depositions and trials. Truly amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree; it is fascinating to see those court reporters in action. I wonder how much longer they will be around. I am assuming everything is recorded and software would do a good job of translating it…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, a fitting tribute to never forgotten typing teachers. Learning in high school to type (properly) on an Olympia manual typewriter . . . Being left in the dust (IBM Correcting Selectrics)¹ by future office secretaries in a college class . . . Teaching my first class of typing enthusiasts (manual typewriters) back in the fall of 1978.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I also learned to type on a typewriter but it was an electric one. I was very good at it and can touch type very fast. It helps me with my work and my writing. My sons can both type. They are taught at school during their IT lessons. They can both type quite fast, but not as fast as me. Terence types with one finger from each hand. He goes quite fast though.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My Mum was an extremely good shorthand typist, with ridiculous speeds and accuracy levels. We had a typewriter at home and she tried to teach me how to use it, but I got nowhere with it, or with shorthand – Pitman’s was the main version in use here.

    But as someone whose handwriting has declined over the years, I think I can help to decipher that passage for you. I think it starts with ‘My fellow Americans’ but then becomes an incoherent ramble. You wrote speeches for the former guy, didn’t you, totally in his style 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m wondering if your Mom being so good made it harder for you to learn, perhaps yo were thinking you would never be that good.

      And that may be what the teleprompter looked like for the former guy…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be honest I don’t think I gave it that much thought – I preferred to be outside playing football or cricket in those days. I already had enough homework from school and didn’t need any more home studying!

        I think that’s what the inside of his brain looked like…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Luckily I never found that I ever had the urge to learn to type and always during my working life had someone to type letters for me…:) But my keyboard skills are reasonable and have never been a drawback…My mother was proud of her Pittmans shorthand skills though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t remember shorthand being offered in school but I took typing! We had mostly electric typewriters and a few manual ones. I remember sitting outside the door with my friends after a quick lunch so we could hurry up and get in the room first to get an electric typewriter! Nothing was worse than having to use a manual typewriter!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s