Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bend your fingers

One summer when I was a kid (about 7, I think), I took a few piano lessons from one of my grand aunts in the Philippines. I was alright, but had a bad habit of sitting and plunking my fingers flat against the keys. She always corrected me, saying "Bend your fingers" as she corrected my hands with hers. Sitting up straight, hands above the keyboard, fingers bent.

I hadn't thought about this in years, but I recently listened to an episode of the podcast Hypercritical, in which host John Siracusa discusses how he's dealt with repetitive stress injury (RSI) stemming from working behind a keyboard for so many hours a day (keyboard of the clack-clack-clack, not do-re-mi variety). I hadn't thought about RSI as a legitimate concern for me before, more a mere annoyance. But the thought that it might cause long-term damage got me thinking that I should try and be a bit more proactive in dealing with it.

It sounds silly to complain about, but I get a good amount of aches and pains in my wrists (after all, I'm at a keyboard and mouse just about 8 hours a day, then a few hours more after I get home). I picked up an Evoluent Vertical Mouse about two years ago. It was somewhat helpful, though the ache moved from my wrist up to the inside of my upper arm, so it might be time for me to switch back to a normal mouse.

Sometime soon I'll try to get a keyboard tray under my desk, but in the mean time I'm working on my posture.

So I've once again been sitting up straight, hands above the keyboard, fingers bent.

Not much more to this post than that- just a current problem that reactivated a 21 year old memory.

--
NOTE 1:

I've been listening to the 5by5.tv podcasts incessantly these past few weeks, so it's no wonder material by their hosts are on my brain. I realized after finishing this post that I had unintentionally imitated some of the structural elements of Merlin Mann's great essay 'Cranking', which used a similar past-memory/present-circumstance/past-memory structure and vehicle (albeit much more developed and serious a piece). While I'm sure his essay is not the only piece of writing to have used this format, it's the most recent example of it that I've read, so it seemed to warrant citing. And it's definitely worth checking out.

NOTE 2:

In the harsh light of day, I see all my typos and grammatical errors.
I've corrected them. There may be more, but I'll leave those alone.