Friday, August 22, 2014

When The Rules Change...

I was recently alerted to an Internet article informing me and anyone else who read the article (see the link below) that one should NEVER, EVER double-space after a period. The story calls out those of us, people of a certain age, who do this. A link to the story on Slate appears at the end of the post.

This may be evidence of the brainwashing power of public education! In 9th grade I took typing with Mrs. Zubrow. I was astonished to discover that Mrs. Zubrow was my typing teacher. She was my homeroom and math teacher in 7th grade. I thought Mrs. Tonso was my typing teacher but apparently she was my home economics teacher. Hmmm, my memory issues must have started early or junior high (now known as Middle School) was so unpleasant that I just don't want to remember it. But I digress...

You are invited to read the article for yourself. Typesetters have used the one space after period rule for centuries (long before I was in 9th grade...really!). What I learned on reading the article is that original typewriters couldn't do what typesetters could do. So even though the science about spacing was there, technology was not. As typewriters changed and word processing took over, letters changed how much space they took up, thus changing the necessity for two spaces v. one space after a period. Okay. I get that. However, Mrs. Zubrow (by the way, she (Anne) and her husband (Reuben) lived across the street from my Dad's boss. Reuben was a well-known and most respected economics professor at CU-Boulder). Anyway, Mrs. Zubrow was a tough and effective teacher...I can't believe they had her teach typing. She taught us to type not looking at the keyboard, and the two-space-after-a-period was well drilled into young women (and I'm confident that most if not all the students in class were girls) my age in 1969.

So it isn't as much a rule as it is a habit. It takes time to change or break a habit. I'm feeling terribly self-conscious about adding extra spaces in anything/everything I write. My time is spent re-reading everything I write and deleting extra spaces. Spell checker doesn't appear to have caught up with the rule change, because it isn't catching all my double spacing.

Lots of rules changed for us Baby Boomers while growing up. What are some of your favorites? In addition to spacing, smallpox vaccinations are a favorite of mine. My mother, (God Bless Her) broke the smallpox rule. When it was time to have me vaccinated, she asked (demanded) the physician locate the vaccine in my thigh rather than my arm. Go ahead, look at (probably) your left arm. I can wait. Did you find it? You have a small round scar from that vaccination. My Mom didn't want me to have a visible scar, so mine is on my thigh. It's a case of be careful what you wish for. Mom did not bank on how short skirts or shorts would be for women of my generation! Here's another big change that occurred. Not a rule, but a culture change. We gals no longer went to college to get our Mrs. but to get our BA or BS.

I invite you to share your thoughts about changes by submitting a comment below.

How did I figure some of this out (like that Mrs. Zubrow taught typing)? While doing some cleaning/organizing I came across this.

And in it I found schedules, report cards, school photos, newspaper articles, and school programs. A very weird trip down Memory Lane. I'll share some of those discoveries in future posts. Looking in the rearview mirror some 40+ years later is interesting for sure!

I just did the "period" check. Double-spaced 30 times! Single-space twice. This is going to take a while!

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