i was agonizing over some truly ugly internet speak in a facebook post recently, when i realized everyone must think i’m also too lazy to use my hard earned english writing skills. i don’t use uppercase when i type. a friend at work asked me about it a while ago, and now i realize it probably works against me in an age where almost all communication i deal with on a daily basis is in written form.
i don’t plan on changing anything, but i do actually have a reason for it. there’s a story to it, and i’m in a writing mood. i’d also prefer people didn’t think i was 2 kool for capital letters – the corporate fat cats of written english.
some backstory: i can’t touch type. i am a software developer by trade, and i can’t do it. all i have done since the age of five is attack a keyboard, for hours a day. i got along just fine for years. i still write code day and night, and i do it without the home row.
since a 5 year old smacking a keyboard was fairly impressive in 1990, no one really cared if i was doing it right, myself included – and i still don’t. why is this important? under the blake school of key-jitsu, i never use the right shift key. so what do i have against it? nothing. you only need one. i use the one on the left.
anyways, around age 8-11 (i forget exactly what year) my brother and i were playing around. i got locked out of our house, and he would creak a door open to let me back in. before i could make it, however, he’d slam the door shut and laugh. standard kid stuff.
well, on my final attempt, i managed to sneak my left pinky into the doorway before the door closed on it, which essentially unsheathed my finger. screaming bloody murder ensued and i had to go to the er. my finger tip was reattached, and i was sent on my merry way. eventually it healed, and there’s still a scar you can see through the nail.
nowadays it’s not so cool. up until about a year ago, my pinky would get noticeably sore when typing. it was a nuisance and i couldn’t really do anything about it. i figured i’d just have to deal with it for the rest of my life. talk about a first world problem.
but then i made a game called beem, and by design there is no capitalization in it anywhere. i wrote a ton of backstory and dialog without capitalizing anything. i also did a lot of input on my iphone, so i had to disable auto correct there also.
to keep things consistent, anything i wrote pertaining to the game also went without big letters. notice a pattern emerging? at this point, my pinky was on vacation. it stopped aching, despite a ton of writing i was doing.
it did not register to me consciously, but i just kept it rolling, and i don’t use caps anywhere in email, facebook, etc anymore either unless i really have to.
so when my friend asked me about it, i realized instantly what had happened. i had conditioned myself out of new beginnings and the idea that proper nouns were somehow better than hardworking blue-collar nouns. i was surprised i hadn’t noticed explicitly, as i am nothing if not observant.
gripping storytelling, i know. other less noticeable effects of a gimped pinky are i’m not great at guitar playing or digging shit out of my ear. if i work with you, at least now you know i’m not lazy, i’m just a huge wuss.