What? Those aren't the lyrics to that Pointer Sisters song? :D
Now here's a topic that utterly fascinates me because I honestly don't know much about it. I am humbled to say that they still taught shorthand (or stenography) when I was in high school, although the only girls (yeah, no guys took this class!) that took it were those who knew they were on the "secretarial" track for work after high school.
Shorthand is cool. I like the "secret message"-ness of it. This is quite culture-centric of me, but I always thought that Americans were the only ones who used shorthand. This notion, of course, is ridiculous. Looking at the Wikipedia entry for shorthand, one can find the Ancient Greek, Japanese, Chinese, European AND U.S. shorthand histories.
Most of us here in the U.S. are probably most familiar with the Gregg method of shorthand, which uses only thin lines in different lengths (as opposed to the Pittman method, which uses thick AND thin lines to distinguish sounds). Here is a Gregg Writer magazine I picked up somewhere along my ephemera journey. Inside are all sorts of articles pertaining to the "modern" secretary: how to dress, how to behave (i.e., no crying at work!), decorum, etc. It's 75 years old and I LOVE that!
A couple of weeks ago, I found this teeny little shorthand dictionary at an estate sale for a buck. The woman's address label is still inside the front cover and I can just imagine this little dictionary hiding in a corner of her desk at work, probably well-used at first and then, as the 1963 turned into the 70s and 80s, being buried beneath computer manuals. Such is the way of the office in the latter third of the last century.
I haven't used these squiggles often but I know I will eventually - I did do a little pendant with shorthand and a pen nib from Esterbrook called the "Gregg" - see how ubiquitous it used to be? :D