"Can you believe it's already been a year", says fan
Michigan - Talented Typists from across the
globe will gather in Detroit's "Typodrome" this weekend for the 98th annual ‘World Typing Championships'. 50 contestants will "fype" (pun combining words "fight" and "type"- okay you do better) it out for the coveted "Golden Typewriter"- which, in case you're bad at figuring things out, is the trophy awarded to the eventual winner.
Organisers were glad to announce they have secured the services of typing superstar and former World Champion, Mavis Beacon to set the games in motion. She will press the gigantic Return Key on the enormous novelty keyboard that has been erected just in front of the main stand of the Typodrome to instigate the games. (84 people died in its construction- funnily enough the same number as there are keys on a keyboard, though most family members of the victims failed to see the funny side. I say "most family members"… a couple were seen chuckling at the collective funeral although those chuckles have been directed towards the priest who had an hilarious speech impediment in which he always says Jebus instead of Jesus).
"RAPID FINGER MOVEMENT"
The championships will bring together many of the world's top typists (or "topists"- okay I'll stop), each bringing to the event their own blend of rapid finger movement, deadly accuracy, and cool efficiency.
Favourite for the overall title is the token robot-like German, Kurt Van Numlock. Van Numlock spent his formative years as Chief Administrative Dictaphone Dictator for BMW. Over the years, he built up a reputation for his measured, calculated approach to typing, rarely slipping below his average typing speed of 772 words per minute (he did once slip to 771 but that's because he had to type the word, "hippopotomous" within that particular minute. The article in question was entitled "BMW Staff Member's Favourite Animals")
It was his indefatigable degree of efficiency that allowed the BMW Corporation to consistently trounce its rivals in the race to publish their annual reports at the end of each year. While many companies were left floundering publishing their annual reports on the 2nd sometimes 3rd of January, BMW, with the help of Kurt's super fast typing fingers, always had theirs on the dot of midnight, Jan 31st (I know, I know this makes absolutely no sense). Germans see this as a genuine hallmark of efficiency.
BMW President, Neise Carr, a former stand-up comedian, was full of praise for his former employee, "Oh jaa, Kurt vas alvays typing like da crazy person. I vonce asked vould he be liking some nice tea or some coffee breaks from all da crazy typing and he just said, "No I must continue vith all my crazy typing. O jaa, Kurt vas crazy. I vud say, "Kurt have yourself some nice breaks, have yourself some nice Kit Kats", but vith Kurt, it vas like a vall I was talking to… like maybe the Berlin vall, hah, hah, hah, hah".
Van Numlock's main title rival is American maverick, Alt Del, a poor kid from the Bronx who grew up honing his typing skills on his sister's Petite 9 to 5 children's typewriter which she received for Christmas through New York's "Gifts for the Gutter" charity programme of 1986 (Del himself received Travel Connect 4 with the bottom shelf missing meaning the pieces just fell straight through, one of the main reasons he took up typing).
Del, recalling his troubled childhood, said, "I never had a proper job. I used just spend the day on sis' typewriter.
"DOGGY DOG WORLD"
Eventually I started "typewriter busking" where folks would come just to watch me type on the pavement and toss me a nickel if I looked like I was typing real fast. I tell yeh, if I had a nickel for every nickel tossed my way, I would have…er…earned twice as much. I didn't need no Mavis Beacon to teach me my typing skills either. I had to type to live but that was okay coz I lived to type, you know what I'm sayin'. In fact once, some New York Big Shot Gangster threatened to "blow my fuckin' brains out" if I stopped typing. Even after he'd gone I kept on typing coz you just don't know- guys like that could be waitin' ‘round the corner ready to pop a cap in your ass as soon as you stop typing, you know what I'm sayin'. You can't afford to let your guard down- it's a doggy dog world for the professional typist".
Del is the son of notorious mafia boss, Jimmy "4 fingers" Del (short for Deleone). The reason Alt grew up impoverised is because his father was trying to cover up a lucrative jewel heist and wanted to give the FBI the impression that his family really didn't have that much money at all.
Del's main weakness could well be his incapacity to adapt from his Petite typewriter to the standard Dell Inspiron Computer Keyboards used in the Championships. Typing commentator and armchair veteran of 10 World Typing Championships, Michael Esc, feels Alt Del could flounder in such a hi-tech environment.
Esc believes, "Alt Del has natural ability in spades but in this company he may suffer. He will be prone to such errors as "slipping the shift" (typing slang for failing to hit "shift" key while pressing another key) as there is no shift key on the piece of crap that he uses. He also has trouble typing the letter "R", as that key is broken on his piece of shit typewriter. He'll find it difficult nay impossible to adapt"
Typing journalist (for the New York Types), Jim F3, disagrees. "Alt Del is the most talented typist I have ever seen and I include Mavis Beacon in that. He is the only guy I have ever seen who can type blindfold while playing the tuba and juggling three encyclopaedias. Sure I've seen literally thousands of guys who can type blindfold while playing the tuba, but never while juggling three encyclopaedias as well".
The typing world championship organisers do their best to include events that draw on the competitors' full range of typing skills. These include, as ever, the controversial "strength events" in which competitors must lift over their head as many keyboards as possible. Typing Purists (or "typists"…no wait that's not right) argue that this is not a true test of typing skill.
"What has heavy lifting got to do with typing skills", argues Jimmy "skinny-wrists" O'Reilly, whose failure in the strength events almost always spoils his chances of winning a medal. "I can barely lift two keyboards over my head, let alone fifty like what Johnny "Chubby Biceps" Watson can do", said O'Reilly resentfully.
He added sourly, "I'm a software consultant for Kelloggs for goodness sake. Look at me (pointing to his near invisible wrists). Every time I lift a keyboard, my wrist bones snap and crackle like Rice Crispies… it's only a matter of time before they go pop, and then I'll be floating up Coco Pops Creek without a paddle.
The aforementioned Johnny "Chubby Biceps" Watson regularly comes close to winning a medal despite only being barely able to type his own name (It always takes him about three minutes to find the ‘W' in ‘Watson'. Mind you, he's good at typing the letters ‘ATS' but he gets stuck again on the ‘O' and it takes him some time to find the ‘N' though not quite as long as it takes him to find the ‘W'). However, as he almost always scores maximum points in the strength events, he is usually there or thereabouts in the medals shake-up (Best ever result- Bronze medal 1993).
Then of course there is Augustus "Jelly Fingers" Keyboardopolis, an arthritic competitor from Greece. His main strength is in the "One Key Rapid-Fire" event, where competitors choose one key (usually the space bar as that is hardest to miss) to repeatedly hammer on for two minutes straight. The typist who presses their selected key most in the allotted time wins. This event requires its exponents' fingers to quiver madly, in other words.
It has almost become an annual tradition for Keyboardopolis to win this event. No one can seem to compete with the hi-octane vibration of his arthritic fingers when in full flow.
However, Keyboardopolis does tend to struggle in the less frantic, less "rapid-fire" disciplines such as the "See How Long You Can Hold One Key Down For Without Leaving It Up" event.
Because Keyboardopolis has never lost in the "One Key Rapid Fire" event, he is obviously intent on maintaining his unbroken string of victories beyond another year. This is one of the reasons he refuses to receive medical treatment for his arthritis. Despite doctors persistently warning him that his condition will grow considerably worse without treatment, a fiercely proud Keyboardopolis vows, "I would rather die typing than wonder what might have been". He continued, "My father died typing, and his father, and his father, and his father. His father, admittedly, died of a heart attack but that was while lifting a particularly heavy typewriter."
Many pundits see Africa, and particularly Ethiopia, as one of the strongest poverty-stricken or "emerging" regions of the typing world. Indeed, many are predicting an African World Typing Champion before the end of the world. Africa, this year, provides the Championship with five competitors, and what a colourful or "coloured" bunch they are too.
The best of these crazy Africans is undoubtedly Ethiopian National Champion, Typie Pguppgdn. You thought Jimmy "Skinny Wrists" O'Reilly's wrists were skinny- wait ‘til you see this guy! Pguppgdn never had a keyboard as a child- indeed his penniless family didn't even have a decent Internet server (they had to make do with an outdated Novell Netware IP without even a dedicated Java IPU- the sort of poverty the western developed world could only ever have nightmares about).
"LEARNED TO TYPE BY SQUEEZING UDDER"
Pguppgdn, like so many other young, aspiring Ethiopian typists, learned to type by squeezing the udder (which represents a keyboard) of the village cow. If Pguppgdn ever got thirsty from all the vigorous typing, he could always help himself to some milk as well, which was nice.
Pguppgdn explains, "The back left teat represents the ‘ESC' key, the back right teat represents the ‘Del' key, the front right teat represents the ‘Return' Key and the front left teat represents the, you guessed it, ‘Space Bar'. Squeezing the front right teat and back left teat simultaneously, represents the ‘CTRL' key. Squeezing the back right teat and front left teat and then quickly yanking the cow's tail, represents the ‘F12' key.
Pguppgdn would continue long into the night obdurately trying to account for each of the 84 keys and their corresponding cow's udder permutation. He had accounted for some 82 keys when he looked at his watch and screamed, "Jesus, it's two in the morning. I need to get some rest before the tournament starts tomorrow".
"Don't worry, I'll tell you the udder permutation for the ‘Home' key and the ‘P' key tomorrow night… I promise…I might forget, though, so if I don't remember, just remind me, okay. Okay? Alright, good night everybody, have a good one. I'll see you in the morning, please God", he added.
For a full list of Ethiopian typewriter cow's udder permutations, go to www.bizarrealternativetypewriters.com. On this site you will also learn how certain South American Rainforest Tribes use their own saliva mixed with snake-oil as typewriters, how a lot of Russian people use peas, and how some Chinese people use helium. Oh yes and how a group of Native Irish speakers on the Aran Islands use old copper brooches.
Traditionally, the sport of typing has always been looked upon as a male-only domain (non-secretarial females are still forbidden to participate). However, this situation is gradually changing, thanks mainly to one man. The rise in interest among the female or "non-male" community was evident last night, as legions of female typing fanatics showed up to greet French Typing heartthrob, Marcel Espace-Bar, as his plane flew into the airport that is conveniently situated right beside the Typodrome.
"WE LOVE YOU"
Hormonally-crazed women began hurling their bras, panties, and typewriters (they can really hurt) at Espace-Bar, the moment they caught sight of him stepping off the plane. "We love you!" one besotted group of women chanted. "Show me those sexy typing fingers and stick them in me if you want", shouted one hysterical teenage girl, no more than 22 years old. "I want to be your secretary!" screamed another.
Espace-Bar, the David Beckham of the professional typing circuit, claims he once had sex with three beautiful women while simultaneously typing out a word-perfect rendition of the entire Book of Kells "using the correct font and everything". He boasts, "It's easy to get any woman I want into bed. All I have to do is push the right buttons, heh,heh", in a typically slimy Gallic drawl.
"THE BEST LOVER"
Espace-Bar's former lover, Nicole Typesalot, is quick to back this up, declaring Marcel Espace-Bar as "the only man I've been with who knows where the CTRL, ALT, and DEL keys are located on my body, and, better still, the only man who knows how to press them all at the same time… the best lover I've ever had gan dabht" (said she before swooning at the memory).
Just as Marcel Espace-Bar is young, virile, sexy, and efficient, there are also those typists who are not. As such, the final word must go to Oldie McBeentypingfordonkeysyears, the Scottish veteran of ninety-one World Typing Championships, who has promised he will bow out of competitive typing after this year's tournament, at the ripe old age of 116 (well maybe more putrid than ripe- like a black banana). McBeentypingfordonkeysyears has never won the coveted Golden Typewriter but, with typical self-delusion, still has not given up hope that this year might well be his year.
His army of Scottish supporters is a tad more prudent if no less optimistic if no less stupid. Jimmy McTypingfanofoldie (long-time fan of Oldie) believes, "If he can overcome his cancer, his blindness, his deafness, his arthritis (perhaps could challenge Keyboardopolis in ‘one key rapid-fire' event?), and his touch of pre-death rigor mortis, then he might have a slight chance (He also may suffer from Alzheimer's. He says he visited the doctor about it last week but can't quite remember his diagnosis). It's just a question of putting these minor ailments at the back of his mind and getting on with the job… easier done than said, mind you… so get on with it Oldie".
Just to give you an idea of how old Oldie McBeentypingfordonkeysyears actually is- if he were a dog, he would be 812. That's 691years older than the oldest human being that ever lived, and only 35 years short of the oldest person who ever lived if the oldest person who ever lived were also a dog… quite extraordinary really.
"DOCTOR ON STAND BY"
Fears for his health are so great that, during competition, McBeentypingfordonkeysyears is required to have a doctor on standby at all times, and standing next to him, a priest, and next to him, a coroner, and next to him, some pallbearers, and next to them, a couple of gravediggers.
Whichever way you look at it though, it should be an exciting tournament.