Sometimes you hafta get outta your own way
I’m pretty good at the keyboard – the computer keyboard, that is.I ought to be – I spend a lot of time in front of one. But what is it that causes me to completely bungle the easiest of sentences if someone comes up and stands behind me while I’m typing? I guess it’s self-consciousness. We’re all capable of doing all sorts of things if we can get out of the way of ourselves. But come up behind me when I’m typing, and I hit the delete button way more than any of the other keys. It doesn’t even have to be someone I’m nervous about impressing. Heck, a baby could crawl up and take a look at what I’m trying to type and I turn into a Typing 101 flunky. The cat can jump up on the desk and look at the monitor, and instantly, I’m typing a language foreign even to me. I would guess that this self-awareness phenomenon particularly plagues professional athletes. At a certain level, highly trained cyclists, tennis players, football players, skiers, race car drivers, you name it, are equally capable of winning the race, the match or the game. But throw in a little self-realization, and along with it, self-doubt, and you’ve separated the winners from the losers right there. This translates to other areas of life. Ever notice what an ultra-ridiculous, over-cautious driver you become when you look in your rearview and see a patrol car trailing behind you? In a flash, we all become fugitives from justice, with big “G”s (you know, guilty before proven innocent) on our foreheads. And, because of that, we might be more likely to make a mistake. I really don’t think traffic cops expect us all to drive like robots, precisely one mile under the speed limit, with both hands on the wheel precisely in the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. But we instantly become model drivers whenever the state patrol appears. I remember driving in a regular civilian car once with a friend who’d brought along a buddy – an off-duty cop. As vehicles behaved badly – passing on the solid yellow, cutting other drivers off, and speeding – Mr. Off-Duty just laughed. “You can’t believe the difference between how people drive when they don’t know I’m a cop, and how they drive when I’m behind the wheel of a marked patrol car,” he said. So whether it’s mastering a keyboard, winning a race, or avoiding a ticket, getting out of your own way probably makes life better in the long run.And in the meantime, it’s a good thing there aren’t keyboard police stationed behind every writer’s chair. We’d never get anything out. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle, citizentelegram.com. Every day, she’s thankful that someone invented the delete key. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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