Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

5 years, 11 months. (Less than a week away from turning 6!)

Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

I admit, ever since your Kindergarten teacher provided me with official documentation that you are on a 4th grade reading level, I have been both proud and skeptical. I think it’s great that the assessment test shows you are that intelligent, but at the same time, I just want to be sure these findings are legitimate and accurate.

However, my doubts are starting to fade away. Monday Morning, I was backing out of our garage, with you and your sister in the back seat.

You randomly asked me a question that I wasn’t ready for:

“Daddy, does this spell ‘pack rat puppet’?”

You were holding the tag to a puppet I bought earlier this year for one of my videos on YouTube- though it has yet to be made, since your sister was born in the midst of me planning the video shoot.

I didn’t even realize that tag was even back there. Apparently, it was stuck between the seats and you discovered it.

Quite amazed, I nearly shouted, “You can read that?! You figured that out on your own?!”

Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

You humbly answered, “Yeah, I just sounded it out…” You yourself almost seemed surprised that I was so surprised that an almost 6 year-old boy could locate an old tag in the back seat, sound out what it said, and correctly read it out loud in the brief process of his Daddy backing the car out of the garage.

I assured you, “Yes, that’s definitely what it says. Wow. You even figured out the word puppet. I am very impressed by what you just did!”

Further fueled by the encouragement of that event, every day since then, you have been finding any opportunity to sound out words and read them to me; like when we are stopped at a red light.

Man, I seriously just can’t get over it. You spelled “pack rat puppet”. On your own. For fun. For the challenge of it. You are one smart kid.



Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

I am the Human Spell Check

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