#572 Mastering a new keyboard shortcut

The other day my friend Gillian was telling us about the first time her mom used a computer.

It was a long time ago, back, back, way back, and the story goes that the whole family was unpacking their new heavy, chunky PC in the middle of the living room. Styrofoam was cracked apart, boxes were torn up, and then they all slowly gathered around this big gray Box of the Future, waiting for its information powers and knowledge showers to rain down upon them.

Now, most of the fam had used a computer before so someone suggested mom get her e-groove on first. A lamp was turned on, a shiny wooden chair brought from the kitchen, and mom sat down while the machine booted up. Then, while everybody was waiting, she slowly and carefully unwrapped the mouse from its plastic bag and calmly put it on the floor by her foot.

And then, while everybody watched, Gillian’s mom slowly mimed typing and started pushing her foot on the mouse like a sewing machine pedal.

It was a hilariously cute moment.

Because we were all there once, too.

Sure, maybe you didn’t think stepping on the mouse made the computer go, but you probably were an awkward pile of keyboard konfusion as you got up to speed. Maybe you took a tutorial to learn how to double-click or you signed up for DOS classes down at the city center.

But come on, no matter what, no matter when, you know it’s totally true: You once sucked at computers, too.

But then over time you got a bit better, then a bit better, then a bit better, and now you’re pretty good. You started double-clicking instead of triple-clicking, changed your resolution from super zoomed-in to super zoomed-out, and started ALT-TABing like your life depended on it.

You turned into e-You, a barely recognizable quick-clicking Year 3000 cyborg version of yourself.

Now, the thing is that way, way down deep in your core you’re still the same person who touched a computer for the first time and learned everything from scratch. That girl’s still part of you. That guy’s still part of you.

You still remember the excitement you felt as you learned all those tips and tricks. And that’s really what makes it exciting as you keep learning tips and tricks. Yes, whether it’s a new keyboard shortcut or how to whistle, whether it’s stopping on skates or playing Stairway to Heaven, you still feel the joy of learning buzzing through your body every day.

See, you weren’t sure if you could do it, but then you tried it, and then you could. You practiced and practiced and practiced or maybe it suddenly dawned on you over time. Learning a new keyboard shortcut feels great.

That’s because learning anything feels


Illustration from: here

Photos from: here, here, and here

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