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Sunday
Dec192010

6.3 The Story 

Spelling is easier than it used to be. 

 
Not because the occurrences of obstreperous spellings have diminished, but because of the handy little red line that appears when we make a mistake. I appreciate that there is no penalty for trying, and even repeated failures. It is different with my ATM card, that yells at me when I mess up three times and snatches my card away. Probably the teller that gets minimum wage for screening hours of mundane interactions gets a good laugh and tells his friends about the lame lady who cannot remember her PIN. That happened to me in Paris. I cringe to think of them mocking me in French. 
 
But with computers you have a forgiving advocate hiding beneath the keys who nonchalantly brings small errors to your attention immediately, so you can actually redeem yourself before you click on send or worse yet, print. 
 
You are not an unprecedented jerk. You simply cannot figure out the minutiae of vowels and prefixes that take inordinate delight in fooling you. Hence the handiness of the spell checker. 
 
A couple we know came up with a similar scheme for routine interrelational faux paus. 
 
"ouch."
 
It does not even get a capital letter because it is supposed to be said surreptitiously, not announced. 
 
When one of you says something that causes the other discomfort, the appropriate response is "ouch." It does not heap shame and revenge on the speaker, it simply underlines the words, giving him or her a chance to amend them.  
 
I am grateful for the spell checker that redirected me approximately seventeen times in this short diatribe, perhaps convincing you that I can indeed spell proficiently. 
 
I am equally grateful to John, who quietly gives me another opportunity to speak kindly. 
  

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