Unrepentant Old School Spaceist

I’m literally old school.  I was the only male in the high school typing class I took.  I remember other guys standing outside the door, making faces and threatening gestures at me though the glass because I had the temerity to  study what many believed to be a girls-only subject.  Only women, who were going to be relegated to the typing pool anyway, needed to learn to use a typewriter.

These were older IBM Selectrics, with interchangeable balls of type hidden away inside.  I had started trying to type on my father’s ancient manual Underwood, requiring tons of pressure on the keys to get them to smack loudly against the paper, squeezing enough ink out of the cheap ribbon to leave a letter-shaped mark on the rough paper.  It took me a while to unlearn the rough attacks my fingers made on the keys, giving way to a softer touch that drove the whirring, clacking ball against the paper.

One of the lessons I learned well from Mrs. Woodward was to always use two spaces after the period at the end of a sentence.

Later in the 80’s, many of the boys I’d gone through high school with took courses in something called “programming” in college.  There, they learned all about was becoming known as keyboarding.  Today, nearly everyone in our society knows how to use a computer keyboard, and has learned from a young age that you only need to put one space after a sentence-ending period.

However, after nearly forty years, my fingers are reluctant to change.  I have enough other habits – bad, or simply unproductive – that I should change before I even attempt to correct this one.

Among certain people, the number of spaces at the end of a sentence becomes essentially a religious war.  Some people are rabidly opposed to putting two spaces there, while ancient folks like myself will argue equally strongly in opposition to that viewpoint.

Yes, I use two spaces.  But I think I’m in a true minority.  I just don’t give a damn how many people put there.  I do have a friend, however, who is not opposed to throwing in 3, 4 or even 5 spaces.  Mainly he’s writing for himself – audio scripts.  So the spaces help him see where he wants to put a pause, or draw a breath.  He’s been hired to manage the social media pages for some of his clients, and sometimes those extra spaces creep into those public posts.  But again, I don’t mind too much, and other readers apparently don’t give a damn at all.

So, which side do you come down on?  One, or two spaces at the end of a sentence?

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