The following is a small clip from my memoir, WORK AVERSION TRAUMA: A Lifetime of Suffering. Near the end of my thirty-four-year teaching career, you could say I was getting a tad disappointed in the way things were going...
And meanwhile, the miracle of word processing had arrived, making writing easier and rendering everybody’s writing equally neat. Spell-checking applications were now giving us papers free of misspellings for the first time in history. Imagine how good that made everybody feel.
But… things are not always as they seem.
“Very neat paper here, Billy, but there are some problems. There’s something wrong with some of these sentences. They aren’t making sense…”
“No way! Nothing showed up when I spell-checked it, and the grammar-checker didn’t turn anything up either, so it’s gotta be OK.”
“The checkers don’t pick up everything.”
“Oh? And you do, I suppose? Wow. Oh, I see: you’re way smarter than Microsoft! What software have you marketed lately, Mr. L?”
“Trust me. There are problems here. Let me read this to you out loud. I think you’ll see what I mean.”
“Doubt it! And I ain’t doing it over again. The spell-checker accepted it.”
“OK. But… take this sentence right here, for example: ‘I raped myself in the towel.’ You see what I’m…”
“Hey! I never said that! Geez! What’re you talkin’ about?!”
“Well… that’s what it says right there: r-a-p-e-d…”
“Wrapped! I never said 'raped!' I wouldn’t say…”
“No, 'wrapped' begins with a w… and has two p’s…”
“And see, back here in the previous paragraph, you’re saying right here… ‘My buddies and I drove down to the pubic beach to check things out.’”
“Public beach! PUBLIC! Not… what you said!"
“But there’s a letter l in public. Leave it out and public becomes pubic…”
“Well I didn’t do that! The computer did it! The spell-checker did it!”
“I thought you wrote this paper.”
“I did! But when I ran spell-check, it turned out a crapload of words came up spelled wrong! So anyway, then spell-check gave me this whole big list to choose from!”
“Easy, Billy. So. You think you might’ve chosen the wrong word from the list?”
“Well, what if I did! So what! How the hell am I supposed to know which one to pick, huh? It’s like a lottery! They all look alike!”
“Listen, I think we need to go over a couple of simple spelling rules...”
“Well I don’t need to! That’s the computer’s job! Not mine! And if the computer don’t know how to spell anything, then how do you expect me to? Spelling sucks! This friggin’ CLASS sucks if you really wanna know the truth! You suck for giving us these stupid assignments! And I ain’t doing it over again either! The computer accepted it, so you should too! So if it ain’t good enough for you, flunk me! See if I care!”
It was becoming obvious that Billy wasn’t feeling very good about himself at this point.
“Well, that’s your choice. If you’re content with passing in a story about you raping yourself on the pubic beach…”
“I TOLD you I never SAID that! …All right! Hey… you know what?That’s it! I am so out of here!”
And so am I, I thought to myself after the door slammed behind him… so am I.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
AMERICAN DREAM -- A TEACHER LOOKS BACK… by Tom Lyford
hi skool sux! the classez bite!
to dum to reed, to dum to rite
to hammerd eatch and evry nite,
i’m tellin ya! (yo! got a lite?)
teacherz blow! there all a dink!
yore not aloud to smoake (or drink!)
least wayz (hah hah! ) that’s whut THEY think!
my wokman playz wial i lip-sink…
the texbooks suk, they bite the bag,
like, duh! i don’t DO hoamwerk, fag!
chil out! whut R you, on the rag?
(aw, I just roald my last zigzag!)
hang out all day at skool with frenz,
blow spitbalz out of hollo penz
& chek out all the gurlz reer inz…
score doap with stolin fivez & tenz
so how come all this time we spend
in studdy hallz, lokt up & pennd?
they just won reezon we atend!
that free duhlpoamuh at the ind!!!