Pleasant Surprise

Today, while signing up for NCRA membership (I am trying to become certified as a CART provider), I was pleasantly surprised. In the drop down menu in which a prospective member would select his/her stenography method to be tested on, I noticed that Gregg and Pitman were both listed along side "Machine." I found it intriguing since nowadays a stenographer who does not employ machine shorthand is basically unheard of (though apparently as of 1996 at the age of 90, Mr. Dupraw was still working as probably the last real pen stenographer).

It made me go back and think of how much more time and effort it took me to work up to a useful speed in Gregg than it did for me to gain speed in steno writing (took me a good 6 months to reach 80 wpm in Gregg while it took me just 3 to get to a fairly consistent 130wpm in steno). Though this could be attributed to the fact that I knew a pen system and the underlying general stenographic principles prior to learning to write on the machine. Nonetheless I feel that I now understand the dedication and pure genius of the legendary writers like Gregg himself, Zoubek, Schneider, Swem, Dupraw, and the others.

It was also one of those "How the hell did they live back then without microwaves/cars/the internet/video games/TV/electricity?" moments. With steno, a computer translates your raw shorthand into English instantaneously and untranslated outlines are almost always legible to the writer unless s/he completely botched it. You don't have to retype everything from scratch nor will find yourself trying to decipher from context stray dashes or sloppy squiggles whose proportions lie exactly between a K and a G or a V and an F. Anyone who is comfortable enough with Gregg or any other pen system to tackle an NCRA test at speeds of 250wpm present day would not only earn my respect, but also my official recognition as "ballin' and shot callin'."

I can only hope that one day I'll be good enough at Gregg to walk into an RPR certification test with just my fountain pen and steno book. 

Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know that at least according to the NCRA, Gregg is not officially "dead" yet :P.

(by Stan for group greggshorthand)

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