Off the Line: The pearls … oops, perils of autocorrect

I’m really not sure if I should admit this, but (ssshhh!!!!) I liked school. Well, most of it anyway.

Karen Haviland


I’m really not sure if I should admit this, but (ssshhh!!!!) I liked school. Well, most of it anyway.

The smell of chalk, sack lunches, wet, wooly clothing and ink was enough to send my young senses reeling. For some reason or another, I’m not sure if it is genetics, a natural leaning towards learning or my parents’ steady reminders that dictionaries are there for a purpose, but I especially loved spelling.

In fact, I can remember those ever popular spelling bees (well, popular to me, anyway) where I would wait with baited breath to be called up to the podium. Marching proudly to the front the organizer would clearly enunciate my chosen word.

“Ergonomics,” said the organizer.

“Ergonomics,” I repeated, followed by, “E-r-g-o-n-o-m-i-c-s,” no fear causing my voice to waiver.

For a habitual underachiever (quite honestly, I just didn’t care enough to make much of an effort unless it really interested me) the taste of usual victory at the podium was sweet as honeysuckles on a fresh spring day.

And so, as you can see, words have always intrigued me. They truly do occupy a special place in my life.

This is why I find autocorrect so funny.

Prior to getting my cell phone a month or so ago, I spell checked the old fashioned way — with the help of Google. Okay, I hope you get the sideways humour in that prior sentence.

Anyway, my point is that I never relied on simple typing to correctly spell a word. That is, until Samsung S6.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is intuitive text in which the computer logically guesses what you are likely to write next and then supplies you with the word or the phrase it believes you will use.

Quickly clueing on to this after a couple of embarrassing texts, I went about the business of teaching the Mr. the INDICATIONS: And outs

(Ha, ha – see above? That is exactly what I mean about intuitive text. What I actually wrote was “I went about the business of teaching the Mr. the ins and outs of his cell phone.”)

Now, the Mr. always was a hunt-and-peck kind of guy at the very best. When you have big hands and thus big fingers, the odds of hitting the right key is likely about 50/50.

So when Mr. Smarty Pants discovered that his text function allowed for verbal dictation he was off and running. Yeah, I’m sure you can see where I am going with this. You know, don’t you? Remember those postings about epic autocorrect fails? We’ve all seen them. Well, yup, here’s another one to add to the list.

I was in dialysis and during those days it has become a comforting habit for Mr. Smarty Pants and I to text each other. The other day he planned to do a little bit of mowing, but discovered that he was out of gas. So then he decided to do some whipper snipping but discovered the weather wasn’t cooperating.

Relaying this to me (using voice to text option, I am sure) I had to laugh when I read his text. Actually, I laughed so loudly the nurses peeked their heads out at me to make sure I was okay.

This is what he wrote:

Him: “Yes, it was good. So much for going and slipper sniffing. Slippers! That is supposed to say whipper sniffing!! Whipper snipping!!! It’s peeing (I am using the nicer word here) out rave. That is supposed to say rain!”

By the time I got through his text the tears were rolling down my eyes as I imagined him slipper sniffing, wondering which pair of my slippers were in peril.

I’m still smiling as I type this. Thank goodness for times like that when technology can actually add to our life if even in such small ways.

Now, I’m off in search of my husband who is likely sniffing slippers in some dark corner.


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