Bring me your misspelled words and incomplete sentences.
In school, I never studied for spelling tests (at least I never needed to) and I always got a “104” (perfect score plus I got the “challenge words” right as well). The English language, as random and pieced-together as it is, has always made sense to me. I wasn’t too bothered with the fact that the word “know” has a silent “k” (originally it was pronounced). Nor was I ever really annoyed with the “I before E except after C” rule.
Somehow I’ve made sense out of the consistent inconsistency of our junkyard Spumoni language, borrowed mainly from our European ancestors- and also surprisingly from Yiddish, the universal language of the Jews, being that there are almost exactly the same number of Jews living in America as there are in Israel; accordingly, the United States has the 2nd highest Jewish population in the world. Examples of adopted Yiddish words – bagel, klutz, schlub, schmooze, schmuck, shtick, schnozzle, tush, schlong.
And I’m convinced that my love of words has a lot to do with why I don’t really have a Southern accent, despite only living in the South (AL, FL, VA, TN). Because I know how words are supposed to sound. It’s not “ahss”, it’s “ice”. It’s not “Toeyohduh”, it’s “Toyota”. To speak in any distinct accent would be to stray from the standard American way of speaking. I’m overaware of the way I pronounce words- only in rare occasions does a hint of Alabama come out of me.
I am the person in any given room who people ask, “How do you spell ‘initiate’”? Then immediately, the word pops up in a translucent white font outlined in black, in my head. I am that guy. That can always save the day in times of a spelling crisis. In college, I was the guy that all my dorm mates would bring their papers to for me to correct them the night before they were due. And not only was it fun for me, but I took pride it doing it.
The downside of being a human spell check: I’m horrible at math and science.
The irony of writing about being a human spell check: I misspelled the word “spell check” in the title for this post by combining two words as one. The real spell check caught it for me.
For a similar post by a similar but different writer, read http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/05/12/99-grammar/.