Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Know I Can’t Spell!

I would like to thank all of you that have corrected my spelling over the years. I am so glad I have humored you with my ignorance. No really, I do hate it when it’s pointed out that I can’t spell. And the message is always delivered in the same tone, the tone you use when telling a friend their zipper was down during their entire presentation or a booger was hanging from your nose on a first date. The message is delivered as if my inability to spell is a gentle secret that I don’t already know, but they want to spare me further embarrassment. It seems like people want me to respond (in a whisper) “oh, really I can’t spell? Well golly, thank you for telling me I will start getting every word correct from now on.” I WISH it was that simple.

I usually want to say something in reply along the line of, “do you think my complete inability to spell words beyond a basic few is a fact that has escaped me over my thirty plus years on the planet?” But I don’t, because everyone is just trying to be helpful, and I know that.

In all seriousness, I’m thankful and simultaneously embarrassed when someone pulls me aside and tries very nicely to tell me that I am using the wrong word. I always know what I mean - even if the page doesn’t always reflect that. I try and use words that I know I can get correct but I get frustrated because my vocabulary is bigger then my ability.

I don’t know where my spelling education went wrong but it was early on. I remember being petrified in third grade at the class spelling bee. The top five finishers got a lollypop from the lollypop tree. I will now admit that once in a fit of frustration knowing my goal was just to survive the first round - let alone allow myself to dream of a top five finish - I took a lollypop after class. The lollypop was rootbeer flavored and that was my first conscious “fuck you” moment. Fuck spelling, I didn’t want to spell their stupid words anyway (insert stomping foot like a small child). Funny, I always knew how to spell fuck – thanks dad – but that word was never in the bee.

My biggest issue is I have no idea when the word is wrong. In my brain it’s correct. I know what it’s supposed to say…my problem is I don’t always know what it says. I admire all you lovers of words out there. You know who you are. The people who enjoy the nuance of silent letters and find it charming to see the Latin root of a word alive in the current English, oh please. Well you all can start a meet up group and enjoy it together because I am going to start my own meet up group. I am going to find others who got screwed by experimental education and we are going to get loaded and blame our mothers for not running our flash cards often enough.

I learned to sound everything out but I somehow missed the lesson about that method being a completely ass backward way of teaching a language as complicated as English. Oh and don’t even get me started on conjunctions and hyphens, I really don’t want to go there (or is it their? – I don’t know they sound the same to me).

Now, I don’t want you to think I don’t want your help. If you see something that is more then a typo please let me know, all I wanted to do is let you all know this is not a dirty little secret. I own it. I know it, and I am grateful every day that spell check exists.

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