Touch typing was never a problem for me, but I never really stopped to think about how faster or slower than others I am. Firstly, it came naturally to me. Secondly, it didn’t seem like a handy skill. Except, of course, it gave me the benefit of arming my soldiers at lightning speed when preparing them for a mission in X-COM: Terror from the Deep. First time I realized that not everyone carries the same laid-back attitude about it as I do was in my freshman year of high school. It was one of the very first classes of touchtyping, and my teacher pulled me out of the classroom without as much as saying a word to me.
Without remembering all the details, I’m forced to guess that we could have been learning „left home row“ that day. That meant typing nonsense such as „dsafg gfsda sdfga dfgsa“ over and over again. Use your index finger for F and G, your middle finger for D, ring finger for S, and pinky finger for A. Practice, until you can do it in your sleep or until you lose your mind—whichever comes first. Either way, I was pulled from this dull but perfectly relaxed environment and instead was thrust into a classroom filled with girls who were two years older than me; to this point, the adventure has been consistent with my favorite dreams.
I found myself sitting next to a blonde young lady, wearing a red hoodie with „New York“ printed over its front. What a pleasant surprise when I realized that I know this face: this girl was two grades above me and showed me ropes at a practical training class last week. Most importantly, she was really nice to me, and I really! liked her. And now I’m sitting next to her, even though I’m supposed to be in a class on other side of the building. I refuse to call this a mere coincidence—I’d rather call it God or Destiny, thank you very much. Before I could decide what brand of coffee machine we’ll request as a wedding gift, or whether Jane is a nice enough name for our second-born daughter, she started taking shots at me; and not the ones I wanted. I don’t want to use melodramatic comparisons left and right, but she was precisely one blow with a hammer into my knees away from conducting a full-blown Gestapo interrogation. It looked like I stepped into her henhouse, and I was guilty by just breathing in it: „hold it, what are you doing here? aren’t you a freshman? aren’t you just going through the basic letters at this point? what’s up with that? why are you here?“ Like a machinegun, half-dozen more in a similar tone. It sounded like questions, but she never took a break to catch her breath, or god forbid, to hear anything resembling an answer. Meantime, her Joker’s imitation was uncanny. She had this giant smile on her face, which could easily be labeled as „cute“ if, at the same time, she didn’t have an absolute death stare in her eyes; I reserve a similar combination for executions of ticks that I recover from my dog’s fur.
Trash talking wasn’t a new thing to me. I experienced it in ballgames on every single level. Usually, it was nice, strict, and manly, such as „nice glasses, fruitcake.“ To which you’d respond with, „I’ll make you eat grass today, dick wad.“ After this exchange, both participants of the battle of words smiled knowingly—it’s a tie and tie is good—and they’d be done with it. What I was dealing with the blonde Joker was way more intense and personal. I realized that on my way from one classroom to the other, I unknowingly walked through a portal of some kind. Now I found myself in a world where touch typing is a thing, an important one. Okay. On the one hand, I totally want to ask this gorgeous girl to a beer; on the other hand, I can’t wait to wipe that Jack Nicholson-style grin off her face.
Damn, I was fast! I honestly don’t remember the exact number, but I was on a roll: typing away while throwing flirty eyes to two girls behinds me. They quickly realized it’s not gonna be a competition, stopped typing, and giggled away at their hyper-competitive friend who finally found her match. In those ten minutes, I felt lifted from the depression of my reality into a brand new one: I couldn’t do any wrong—I was dominating. Is this what superstar athletes feel like every day of their life? I certainly lost hope that god or destiny exists because that girl and I never had that beer. But because everyone involved survived, and a week later, I was rewarded with a cheap box of chocolates for winning the competition by a landslide, let’s call that a happy end.
The point of my babbling is that if you’re into it, there’s a space to compete with your friend / neighbor / colleague / neighbor’s dog: Typeracer.cz. Until now, Czechoslovakians could compare each others‘ typing skills only on 10fastfingers, which generate random text from the package of 200 most often used words in a given language. It’s almost as entertaining as rewriting a dictionary—almost. I wanted to have legit texts, so these last two weeks, I collected, rewrote, translated, searched, and copied texts for the Czech and Slovak universes on Typeracer. With a combined amount of almost two thousand quotes, they are both the biggest non-English universes on the site.
From these two languages, Czech is way better. The quotes repeat only very little because there are more texts through a significantly finer sieve. In total, the Czech universe has 1.037 texts from more than three hundred sources, all in all, almost 150 standard pages of carefully selected text. Most of them are from books, although I’m sorry to say that the censorship was cruel on the Young In Revolt series. There are quotes from about forty movies. Two of my favorites are Bubba’s lecture about any and every way to prepare a shrimp in Forrest Gump or a genius monologue by Robin Williams in the park-scene in Good Will Hunting.
Now all that’s left is populate the universe with some players.