Friday, October 19, 2007

Pregnant Pirates

I used to hear talk of a "paperless society" -- easier on the forests, you know.

Well, whatever my motivation, I've bought into electronic vs. paper -- so much so that while I find my WPM has increased dramatically I'm afraid the muscles used for handwriting have atrophied. Recently I have felt paranoid when using my credit card -- afraid the cashier is going to ask to see my ID again when he notices what trouble I have writing my own signature!

For me EVERYTHING goes on the computer now. Memos I would have scribbled on scraps of paper in the past I now just type right into whatever document I have open as soon as a thought comes to me -- to be transfered elsewhere later.

This has had some interesting consequences.

Once, while typing a worksheet for my students, I heard some interesting information on the radio. At that time I was studying to be on Jeopardy and was recording and soaking up every bit of trivia possible. I had no paper handy, so I typed onto the handout:

"Anne Bonney and Mary Read were sentenced to be hung as pirates, but when it was found that they were pregnant they were spared."
A week later my students were working quietly on this handout when suddenly half the class burst out laughing. I immediately realized I had forgotten to cut and paste to another document. I turned bright red.

Although many students were laughing some students later admitted that at first they were quite distressed by that sentence, because, having no idea what pregnant pirates had to do with Pre-algebra, they assumed this was a really difficult trick question.

Once I overcame the embarrassment of my mistake it was actually kind of fun explaining to them what had happened and why.

I'm sure it would have felt less fun, however, had my memo been a shopping list of personal items!

If you, like I, "scribble" memos-to-self on computer documents, always be sure to proof-read your work before printing and putting it in someone else's hands!! Otherwise the results might be a little more interesting than you would like!


Tony said...

That is really funny! And what a great piece of trivia!

I'm sorry to say that I've never considered putting notes on a computer document. I still keep scraps of paper where I can find them quickly and lose them even more quickly!

Heidi said...

That's probably wise!!

Paula said...

I've never thought of actually typing a note into a document to cut and paste later. Interesting...I frequently have brain flashes, generally something to add to list of some sort I already have going such as a shopping list or a to do list. My method has been to stop typing and reach down into the trash can for a scrape of paper to write on. Then I too, as Tony wrote, generally lose it, but the action of writing it down helps me to recall what it was I needed to get or do.

nethe said...

Hi-hi, poor kids! I would have been terrified too, thinking it must be some lack of understanding on my part…
Well, how do I handle such brain-flashes? I don´t write notes-to-self on just any document at the computer. I have one open all the time that is only used for these kind of things, so I don´t suddenly have “remember tooth paste” in a document to my boss about what budget should be given me and my apartment next year ;-)

But as Paula, I still find writing down things with pen on paper the best way to remember and restructure my thinking. Dificult problems have to go through the pen. Typing on the key board helps me none.