Before there were personal computers (yes, way back then), there were typewriters. When people took classes in typing, one of the sentences used to test typing speed and accuracy was the above: "now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."

Somewhat amusing, because prior to the pc the vast majority of adult typists in the United States were female. (Secretaries, court reporters, etc).



A quiet little nodeshell

How odd the things one tends to remember from childhood.

I must have been about 5 years old. My mother, who had been raised in boarding schools in Japan, was letting me play with the typewriter. She sat down and typed out this phrase. "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country".

She didn't explain why she'd typed that, nor did she explain what it meant. I just read the phrase popping off of my formerly blank space over and over again.

This mar on my workspace. This graffiti. What did it mean? Was she trying to tell me something? I never asked. She wasn't the type of mother you spoke to. In retrospect, she was simply trying to show me what she knew. That was the type of mother she was. I watched her play tennis. I watched her clean house. I watched her suffer from dehydration from ulcers that she refused to own up to until it was too late. I watched...and I watched...and I watched.

By the time I was old enough to take typing lessons, this phrase was no longer used, but somewhere along the way I found out about its origins (at least those that related to a typewriter). Oddly, every now and again, while trying to cure a case of writer's block, I will simply type this over and over again. I think of her. How I never wanted to be like her. I detested her. Perhaps in 30 years, she gave me one gift. A phrase to release the fire in me that is fueled by my hatred of her suffocating inattention and self-involved, needy, ugly little black heart.

Thanks, Ma.

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