In Spellcheck We (Don’t) Trust


A new monk entered a monastery where manuscripts were copied.  He watched the scribes at work and noticed they were transcribing from editions that were copies themselves.  So he went to the Father Abbot’s office and expressed his concern that mistakes could become established in all the manuscripts they produced.

“I suppose that is possible,” Father Abbot replied.  “We keep the originals in the basement.  I’ll take a copy down there and compare them.”

He was gone for hours.  After night fell, some of the monks began to worry about him.  They went down the stairs and discovered him slumped over the table, with hands on top of his head.

“Father Abbot!” they cried as they rushed over to him.  “Are you okay?”

He slowly sat up and stared at them.  “The word,” he said, “is Celebrate!”

There are some misspellings that even modern technology won’t be able to catch.  All it takes is one or two added, dropped, switched or substituted letters, and not only do you have a whole new word, it can entirely change the meaning of your message.

While the above passage is just an opening joke, the following examples are actual incidents involving family and friends.  Their names are withheld to protect their innocence:

During production of a fishing episode about striped bass (nickname: stripers), the editor informed a manager in an email that “the video you requested on the strippers will be available soon.”

(Let’s see him explain that to his supervisor.)

A coworker once informed another employee that he needed to “deliver the plague to the winner.”

(Geez, I hate to think what they did to the loser.)

While reviewing notices that were going to be posted in the church bulletin, a secretary caught the announcement that “the choir will be sinning Friday night.”

(At least they’re honest about it.)

And then there’s the poor guy who sent out the memo on parking lots, pointing out there was “the need to improve pubic access.”

(I’m not touching that one….)

So the lesson here is don’t trust technology.  When it comes to reviewing what you’ve written, you’re probably your own best fiend!


2 thoughts on “In Spellcheck We (Don’t) Trust

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