Many years ago, a hippopotamus decided to learn typing. As you may imagine, the task was difficult and discouraging. The hippopotamus however was unusually persistent. First she learned the parts of the typewriter, then she studied all available typing manuals, (even one for an antique which had neither name nor function in any western language; It could best be likened to a linotype machine which set type for haiku poetry in Japanese.) and finally she enrolled in a good secretarial school. In spite of her diligence, there were some practical difficulties; in fact so many that the best of her efforts resulted only in broken typewriters. Nevertheless, in due course she graduated from secretarial school. Some say. this event was precipitated by the unusual number of typewriter repair bills that the school received. We all know that this assertion is a big lie. In fact it is an enormous lie. She graduated because, in spite of her poor technique, she was a brilliant theoretician.

Now that she had graduated, the logical next step was to find a job and become a contributing member of society. Of course, all this happened many years ago when there was a definite moral obligation to become a contributing member of society. Alas! No one wished to hire her as a secretary. Whenever she appeared for an interview, even the lowest jobs in the typing pool had just been filled. Certain people make insinuations which would be classified as racist if we were dealing with a lesser biological difference. As the matter stands, their statements become even more than racist. They said that she could not find employment, because the amount of methane produced by large grass-eating animals became intolerable in closed spaces such as offices. We all realize that this was not the issue. Her problem was simply that she could not type.

After much despair she consulted a vocational counsellor. Vocational testing finally revealed the truth. She was strongly interested in methods of typing. Naturally, the vocational counsellor suggested that she become a typing teacher. Unfortunately, again her efforts to find a job were futile. The school authorities told her that she was overspecialized. They really needed a typing teacher who was very ordinary, but one who also possessed a good general education and a teaching credential. In other words they need someone who could also teach welding, calculus, Russian grammar, sex education, music, sewing and girl’s P.E. Furthermore, they always had such a backlog of qualified applicants that it was unlikely that they could consider her for a position that year. There are those who say that she was not welcome because of certain engineering problems. Schools are not built to support hippopotami. Nevertheless, we all know that this opinion is weighted with prejudice. In fact it is overweighted. If the simple truth be known, she was refused because none of her applications were typed.

Eventually, her failure to find employment became unbearable and as a last resort she consulted a psychiatrist. She complained that she could find no place to fit into the world. Her psychiatrist noticed that she did not fit into his office, hence he reassured her and sent her on her way with the suggestion that she become a university professor. We all know the rest of the story. Since she was the world’s authority on methods of teaching hippopotami to type, she was hired immediately.

Only minor difficulties remained. There was no typing program for hippopotami however the administration held a special meeting to deal with the oversight. Admission standards were changed, the publicity department began a recruitment campaign and maintenance crews reinforced the floors of all classrooms.

Even so, we were hardly prepared when the new students arrived. They were practical and enthusiastic students with very little interest in typing. Typically they came from families who had had very little opportunity for education, hence they were determined to do well. As their numbers swelled, our university began to resemble the institution that we see today. The new classrooms were larger and better ventilated, course offerings became more diversified, more salads were sold at the cafeteria, and restrooms became enormous. Hence we have a much bigger and better institution.

Nevertheless some difficulties remain. Of course some say that the problem is tradition, one of the most powerful forces in our history. We cannot change: We only add to tradition. Of course this is a big rationalization, in fact it is an enormous rationalization. The simple truth is that in some secret way we are all hippopotami trying to type, and that is why we spend so much time trying to find new methods for finding new methods to teach hippopotami to type.

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