A Loss For Words & The Impotence of Proofreading

Over the last few weeks I’ve written about 10 different academic essays and with each one I made a discovery. Actually it wasn’t much of a ‘discovery’ per se, it was something I’ve known for about a year now but have only recently become so frustrated that I’ve been able to break the barriers of denial and acknowledge I have a problem: spell checkers have ruined my life. I can actually feel the section of my brain that once had a black belt in spelling eroding bit by bit. I find myself misspelling the simplest words imaginable. My mental thesaurus is also fading and the long list of synonyms I once had stored somewhere up there has been stolen from me.

The culprit is Microsoft. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Bill Gates, the software drug lord of the world, is trying to make us all spelling impotent; MS Word dependent. It starts really slow, this addiction, and before you know it the time when you used to be able to construct full comprehendible sentences has all but vanished.

Add to that HTML. I spell it ‘colour’ not ‘color’ and ‘centre’ not ‘center’. A programming language wrapped in stars and stripes.

So I’m going to spend what little spare time I have this summer and read the dictionary everyday. It’s a quarter-year resolution. A daily 15 minute mental workout.

(words that were misspelled during the writing of this post: mispelling, thesuras, synonoms, comprehendable…so I used a spell checker…sue me)

I leave you with a poem by Taylor Mali (warning: do not read without a sense of humor)

The the impotence of proofreading
By Taylor Mali

Has this ever happened to you?
You work very horde on a paper for English clash
And then get a very glow raid (like a D or even a D=)
and all because you are the word¹s liverwurst spoiler.
Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence.

This is a problem that affects manly, manly students.
I myself was such a bed spiller once upon a term
that my English teacher in my sophomoric year,
Mrs. Myth, said I would never get into a good colleague.
And that¹s all I wanted, just to get into a good colleague.
Not just anal community colleague,
because I wouldn¹t be happy at anal community colleague.
I needed a place that would offer me intellectual simulation,
I really need to be challenged, challenged dentally.
I know this makes me sound like a stereo,
but I really wanted to go to an ivory legal collegue.
So I needed to improvement
or gone would be my dream of going to Harvard, Jail, or Prison
(in Prison, New Jersey).

So I got myself a spell checker
and figured I was on Sleazy Street.

But there are several missed aches
that a spell chukker can¹t can¹t catch catch.
For instant, if you accidentally leave a word
your spell exchequer won¹t put it in you.
And God for billing purposes only
you should have serial problems with Tori Spelling
your spell Chekhov might replace a word
with one you had absolutely no detention of using.
Because what do you want it to douch?
It only does what you tell it to douche.
You¹re the one with your hand on the mouth going clit, clit, clit.
It just goes to show you how embargo
one careless clit of the mouth can be.

Which reminds me of this one time during my Junior Mint.
The teacher read my entire paper on A Sale of Two Titties
out loud to all of my assmates.
I¹m not joking, I¹m totally cereal.
It was the most humidifying experience of my life,
being laughed at pubically.

So do yourself a flavor and follow these two Pisces of advice:
One: There is no prostitute for careful editing.
And three: When it comes to proofreading,
the red penis your friend.


  • The poem is hilarious! And soooo true! I’ve experienced the exact same thing… another area where I personally find that technology has dulled my brain is with telephones. Before owning a mobile I used to know every single phone number of every friend or relative by heart. Now I don’t even know my own…

  • Oh man I always do that right click to pick from a list of synonyms when my mind refuses to come up with a word other than, um, exciting, or annoying, or whatever, you get the point 🙂

    Can I copy you on that resolution? 🙂 I’d do it with the thesaurus though.. morning reading, along with a sudoku perhaps! I’m always telling myself I should get some mental exercise first thing in the morning BEFORE making myself comfortable in front of the pc and drowning in news and the blogosphere!

  • After reading this very funny poem, I clicked the link to Mali’s site. And in the very first paragraph, I read this and had another good laugh.

    “People in other parts of the country can’t phantom how cold it gets here in the winter.”

    He meant to write “fathom,” not “phantom.” I think he used a spell checker and got his typo substituted with the wrong word. Poor guy. Spell checkers can be tricky. Always check the spell checker.

Your Two Piasters: