One of the punishments of living in the 21st century is having to deal with AutoCorrect. Our digital devices “know” better than us what we meant to say. Back in the pre-digital world, my father never permitted me to contradict him in public–yet everyday, completely unnoticed, my own digital surrogates contradict me, turning my words into swords–literally.
Even before AutoCorrect, I’d make typos that curiously formed words meaning the opposite of what I intended. Praying they weren’t Freudian slips, I preferred to think it was some dark, external, malevolent force bent on destroying me. But eventually I saw the enemy, and it was me. Indeed, they were my typos, yet no amount of proofreading revealed the demon prior to hitting SEND. Only after they were irretrievably SENT would the cruel typos jump out and bite me.
With AutoCorrect correcting our every communication, even more terrible, awful words are being put into our mouths, so to speak, by our own software. Given my sorry history with this, it’s nothing less than piling on.
I’m sorry, but there’s no excuse for AutoCorrect changing facial expression to racial expression. And why did the politically incorrect AutoCorrect add the extra “i” and “e” to make my expletive into Holy Shiite? It’s bad enough it changed Tall Man to Taliban. Please, just leave the mistake. We have enough wars going on. Parenthetically, one has to wonder if W’s “WMD” was an AutoCorrect error from the CIA. Perhaps a missing space in “yellow cake.”
One star-crossed lover I read about texted, “I love you so much, I wish I could buy you a casket.” His girlfriend unfriended him before he could tell her he thought he had written castle.
Another casualty had feminine charms changed to feline chants. You can’t maintain serious relationships with this form of sexual harassment going on. How many lives must be ruined before AutoCorrect learns that sharing gelato is not the same as sharing fellatio? The correction always degrades the meaning; never the other way around. As I type this, I see it never changes fellatio into gelato. Hmm.
Sometimes incorrect AutoCorrections can become self-fulfilling prophesies. One victim had messaged his kids, “Your Mom and I are planning for Divorce this fall, when he swore he used the word, Disney. With our Mickey Mouse software, it’s no wonder “The Family” in this country is under assault.
Another poor fellow was punched out. Sure he meant to say, “I love your big beautiful dimples. So why did AutoCorrect think he meant nipples? Furthermore, hitting the “n” instead of the space bar shouldn’t turn sondon’t into sodomy. And adding insult to injury, you so lovingly wrote that she was the first girl you ever thought about the future with–NOT the Fuhrer.” Again, I beg you AutoCorrect, just leave the mistake!
Autocorrect has even turned to industrial slander. Pizza Hut is not Pizza Butt, no matter what my software thinks of the product.
We’ll never purge ourselves of AutoCorrect. The wheels of “progress” never run in reverse. But someone is going to get rich inventing an Auto Correction program that corrects AutoCorrect corrections. It might take three gigs of computing power to give us back what we actually wrote, typos and all, but people like me would pay good money for that.
Chappaqua alumnus and 35-year resident of Chappaqua, humorist Rick Reynolds resides in southern New Hampshire with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.