In the 6th grade I won a spelling bee at my junior high school. I should have known it was all downhill from there.
Spell checkers have really done me in. It was once enough that Microsoft Word went around criticizing my every spelling mistake with red underline dashes but now Firefox is doing the same. The worst part is that I learn absolutely nothing from my mistakes since I misspell the same words all the time. I’ve been paying more and more attention to it this past year or so and I’ve discovered that a lot of the time I’m misspelling simply because my fingers are programmed to spell a word a certain way. For every word that I’ve ever used in the English language, my fingers will type it automatically like a dance routine they’ve memorized and if one of the movements is wrong it’s difficult to relearn the routine and reprogram my fingers to type it correctly. This theory becomes more apparent whenever I realize, often in the middle of a sentence, that this feels like the first time I’m ever typing a specific word. My fingers suddenly slow down and I have to look at the keyboard for once and of course both those acts is like a trapeze artist looking down at his feet during a performance.
Years from now all the tech junkies will be forced to attend grammatical rehab to undo years of damage. Writing a test with a pen is an act almost alien to me. I see the spelling mistake as I’m writing it but I continue writing anyways, glancing back briefly, half-expecting to see a red line suddenly appear beneath it, waiting for me to come back after I’ve finished it all.
All in all, technology is just making things too easy. The internal struggle that ensues is usually a part of me wanting to leave every spelling mistake as is so I’ll be forced to learn, while the other part finds that right clicking on those stupid red lines to be irresistible.
Oh and by the way, it’s not just as simple as misspelling a word, but spell checkers have actually caused some sort of erosion in my brain’s dictionary. Case in point, in that last paragraph I typed “unresistible” instead of “irresistible” and I actually put up a fight after my spell checker assured me that no such word exists. I became briefly frustrated enough to take it to court: aka Google. Suffice to say this resulted in me slapping my forehead. And I’ve just discovered that the brain erosion has resulted in major memory loss.
I want the last 12 years of my life back.