In grade school I found the concept of Pen Pals stultifying; try to find one kid to strike up a slow-motion exchange with via handwritten letter? Handwritten letters took too long to write, were too hard to read. Why not just trade phone calls? Or, at least, typed letters.
It was third grade, and my teacher absolutely refused to allow me to type my letters. I had a typewriter at home, my little blue manual on that folded into its own suitcase, on which I would peck away grade school murder mysteries and horror stories. Having recently received a note from my incredibly square Wisconsin friend, I anticipated a dreaded letter writing exercise in class the next day. In a pro-active academic turn (still rare, to this day) I got out my steely blue friend, and pecked away.
The next day in class, when the teacher told us that we would be writing out our replies, I raised my hand. I had brought mine, I pointed out, and it was already neatly typed.
My teacher was not amused. I couldn’t get out of the exercise just because I could type. I would still have to write out my letter.
Defiant, I struck back; I would love to write my letter in the horrible, awkward, cursive of third grade, but surely I would be allowed to place my wonderfully neat typewritten note into the massive envelope that would shuttle letters to our sister-school of hopelessly sheltered born agains in WI?
She was aghast. A typed note? No no no.
At this point the details become a bit muddled; to the best of my recollection, I may have refused to write out my letter so that she would be forced to use my typewritten one. She may have taken the typewritten one from me and insisted I write one from scratch. All I recall is that I was flustered, and made to turn my desk to the wall and write my note by hand, possibly in duplicate.
I can’t remember if my mother found out, but I suspect if she did she probably just had a hearty laugh. For all of my critique of her, one principal she has stood by is that no child should be restricted by a lowest common denominator (she knows the phrase, but god help you if you ask her to show you what it means with fractions), in the same way refused to let teachers force me to show my work on repetitive addition tables in first grade when I had already figured out how to multiply.
I hate when I figure out how to do things the fast way but am restricted by a classroom (or a world) of slow movers.