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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mad Men and Women in the 21st Century

I am not a great typist. And I have only myself to blame. In high school, a million years ago, when it was mandatory for all girls to take typing, and when my Mother said I would never get a job if I could not type, I had to speak to the principal, a Jesuit priest, and talk him into giving me a special dispensation. I got out of the requirement by telling the truth.  I explained I did not want to bring down my GPA with a typing class and also that I had no intention of taking any job that required typing.

Well, that strategy worked pretty well for me. You will not be surprised that I became a lawyer. I was always better at talking about things than typing or spelling. You see, I became a lawyer those million years ago when attorneys still had secretaries.  

Go ahead, you youngsters out there: Laugh. There really was a time when professionals had secretaries. And the professionals were almost exclusively men and the secretaries all were women. You’ve watched Mad Men on TV. You know what I mean. 

You might think that solved the problem. And it did for a few decades. But now that everyone has to do their own typing, or as they call it, “keyboarding” my spelling and typing issues should also be resolved. Every computer now comes equipped with “Spellcheck” or some variation thereof. That solves my typing, er… “Keyboarding” inadequacies.  

Actually, not so much. The mess Spellcheck makes of my typing is worse than my typing. And that is saying something. 

This is not one of those articles about the obscene things Spellcheck and particularly iPhone technology can do for a careless digit. But there are some corrections that I have to wonder--who came up with the default corrections for mistypes? 

What were they thinking?  For example, "Fir day". How can spellchecker think I mean to type fir day all the time? And what is fir day?  Surely the odds are greater that I mistyped Friday than some imaginary holiday in Norway.  Or maybe there really is a fir day somewhere.   

And how about “Spellcheck.” If you type Spellcheck, it corrects to spellchecker?  Who ever uses the word spellchecker? Except of course, the geek who created that word. 

Then there is my all time favorite: “Return gin”.  My mistaken typing of “returning” routinely is corrected to be “return gin.”  Now why would I always be writing about return gin? And who says that, let alone does that. If I had some gin I would not be returning it. You can bet after a session at my keyboard I can use all the gin I can get.

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