I Abandoned Autocorrect But It Abandoned Me First

It was right there until the bitter end though, until I pulled the plug. But Autocorrect had abandoned me emotionally YEARS ago.

An illustration of Amandoll, with asymmetrical hair and a striped shirt of blue, lime, hot pink, and grey, from the chest up. She has a self important, haughty expression with closed eyes. Her right hand is raised with one finger pointing up, which makes it look like she's saying, "well, actually."  In blue writing over the violet background are the words, "A Matter of Fact."

Having typed about a billion words in my extremely long lifetime so far, it makes sense that I have been the victim of embarrassing typos. From the start, it was my shame, and I endured the scathing mockery of my alleged friends any time it happened. Whole conversations would screech to a halt because my conversational companion had to do a whole song and dance, as if it were the first time they had ever encountered such a thing, every time. It was a grueling yet character-building time to be alive. (It still is. As if we ever stopped being that kind of person to each other).

Then came along cellular phones with built-in spelling correction features that instead of merely drawing attention to a misspelled word, like the simple and noble Spellcheck, it would do you the favor of changing it for you. This presumptuous and invasive feature is known as Autocorrect and I have had beef with it since Day 1.

In this drawing, the villainous sun is reaching through a window and punching a person while they are in bed. Punching them right in the face! Their little arms are wobbly and feet are visibly kicking. The things are labeled like this:

an arrow points to the sun, it is autocorrect.
the blanket and bed -- the crime scene -- is labeled "a barely misspelled word."
an arrow points to the person's punched face and it is labeled "my self esteem"
Poor me.

In the beginning of time, in the many years prior to Autocorrect, I think I had some good spelling. Part of that was due to the fear of mockery mentioned in the paragraph before last. But also, since I had nothing to depend on but myself, I had part of my mind set aside for spelling. In chat scenarios, I never used capitalization (except for yelling) or apostrophes — I saved that fancy stuff for emails, only!

But then the Autocorrect came. Everyone reading this has surely encountered this enemy of the mind, this back-stabbing, two-faced, vindictive YES I SAID VINDICTIVE “friend.” When I got my first phone (not very long ago), I didn’t think I needed this automatic correction. It never occurred to me to try to turn it off. I thought it was just a new fact of life, like gnats trying to land on your eye, or sunburns after overexposure to the big star in the sky. I would try to avoid any need for it to butt in. And I was always trying to be aware of my own typos before it corrected them for me. I spent a lot of energy because of it!

Until I stopped. One day — it was probably gradual — I just started trusting Autocorrect to figure out what I was wanting to say. People around me were apparently typing with that trust in their hearts, judging by the absolutely nonsensical messages I get from time to time that is eventually followed with “I have no idea what I was trying to say there.” That is when I realized that Autocorrect itself had changed, too. It wasn’t correcting typos, it was taking the reins!

Frant provides a recent example.

A Short List of Crimes

From the moment I noticed that Autocorrect had perhaps grown a will of its own and made the choice to become a malevolent entity that siphons away the ability to hope or to feel good about oneself from all of humanity, I started making little mental notes of its transgressions that I would experience. My rage elephant brain keeps a tally of anger for things, too. I don’t hold grudges against people only! Oh heavens no!

  1. It not only catches your spelling errors, it catches them and changes them into the wrong word. “Amd”? You couldn’t mean “and,” you meant “mad.” Amandoll mad Dollissa. That’s right.
  2. It catches when you hit the key next to the one you meant, “aomething,” for example, and changes it to “another” or “anomoly” or “anxious” because it decided your typo was the entire rest of a word starting with A instead of anything that would make sense.
  3. It decides that one typo you made once is the actual correct spelling for the rest of all time. Hope you can grow to love the word “diffeernt.” I couldn’t.
  4. It even will change a word that has NOT been misspelled into the word it thinks you should use instead. I have watched, with hardened angry eyes, as it changes “for” into “fir” as if we are a society of people who discuss those evergreen trees right in the middle of a sentence, grammatically about where the word “for” would be.

In fact, it was this persistent insistence that I speak to all of my friends about fir trees that led me to find out where the button was to turn off autocorrect and, after undoing some of the lies autocorrect told me day and night about how I couldn’t possibly be trusted to type without it, after realizing how much psychological damage and gaslighting it must have piled onto me subtly over the years — I turned it off.

A one panel comic of Amandoll and Dollissa talking. But the words are a screencapture of a conversation we had on Facebook Messenger. 

Amandoll says, "Plenty of time fir me to please god get your kitchen back in order." And Dollissa says "never fir trees."

Amandoll expresses rage by saying an extended "god" and also offering emojis of two fire emoji around a pine tree emoji.
True life example right near the end of my rope.

I did really expect to become unintelligible instantly. Instead, I actually became more intelligible. My use of totally-wrong words is certainly down in number. And now, whenever I typo, I come by it honest. I actually get a little surge of self-esteem: I made this error MYSELF! A tiny little devil-program did not have a hand in making me look like a fool. I was not tricked and my stupidity is no longer a deception to others. My sullied reputation as a person who conveys thoughts through words is sullied because of my own doing, thank you.

I will never go back to autocorrect. It can suck a duck, like it would insist that I meant to say.

Sneer Back

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