Throughout our lives we encounter people who influence us in seemingly small ways that turn out to be very significant in the long run. Frequently these are never central figures in our lives but they make a lifelong impact.
Going into my senior year at Highlands High School I was scheduled for an academic counseling session with Mr. Moore. In the 1960s most of us didn’t start making college plans until the beginning of our senior year. Nowadays parents hire agents to guide their children’s college careers from birth. But in my day we just had Mr. Moore telling us whether we should take another science class or public speaking or what have you.
Mr. Moore told me I should take typing.
That shocked me. Typing? How can I put this in sensitive, modern terms? Typing was for girls! Boys didn’t take typing class. Boys took wood and metal shop or auto shop. I was a big deal in the drama department which was cause enough for snickers in the locker room, but TYPING?
Mr. Moore could sense my confusion and explained to me that knowing how to type would help me in virtually every aspect throughout life.
(That reminded me of the time Mr. Roarke told me that algebra was the most important thing I would ever learn. Yeah, right.)
Typing? Boys don’t type. Men don’t type, men have secretaries. I know what you’re thinking but look, that was the way it was at the time. Thankfully, we’ve gotten beyond all that. Right? (Does that work for you?)
Anyway, I was just 17. and had never heard of a single boy who had taken typing class. I think I actually said aloud, “But typing is for girls.”
That’s when Mr. Moore gave me a smile and a sly wink.
“That’s right,” he said, “just you and all those girls.”
Mr. Moore was a genius and a devious old devil. I took his meaning immediately and signed up for typing on the spot.
As it turned out Mr. Moore gave the same advice to Gerry Smith and I was glad of it. I wasn’t the only boy taking typing and I couldn’t deal with 40 girls all by myself.
I’ve been typing virtually every day of my life. Mr. Moore was right. And if I say so myself, Gerry and I both gained a lot of poise and confidence around girls.