Happy Tuesday! KodakKerouacs.com is the place I come to be brutally honest, and I honestly cannot spell. Spelling is hard. Spelling bees were places where I showed no sign of ambition as a child (now, math contests were very competitive to me, but that’s another thing entirely). I’m going to say something here that will be slightly controversial (Mary hates when I preface a statement like that). I think spelling is entirely outdated.
I know what you’re thinking. Well, I know the arguments that MAY be forming in your head. I appreciate spellers. I appreciate that knowing the correct spelling of a word will give insight to the roots of the word and can tell you an amazing story about the history of the word. I even appreciate that misspelling a word shows your ignorance of the English language, and implies a lack of education or of being well-read, thus, spelling correctly implies the inverse. Spelling well can work to your advantage. I see this. I understand this.
Let’s be honest with ourselves right now, brutally honest. How often are you without a computer or a smart phone? How often are you without a dictionary? It’s not that often. Let me give you a little insight to my life. At age 11 I was diagnosed with a Central Auditory Processing Disorder. I couldn’t spell my way out of a paper bag. My mother was a great speller and tirelessly taught me how to spell words, working on spelling every day and in every situation possible. Teachers would tell me to “look something up” which I thought was the meanest, most thoughtless thing to say. I often could not have told you the first letter of a word, much less find the damn word in a book of words. I hated spelling. Spelling was mean. After being diagnosed with CAPD my mother bought me an electronic “speller” dictionary I used in class that I could type a word into and it would guess what I meant to type and I’d find the spelling I wanted. It’s a funny thing, I can recognize the word once it’s correct, but I’ll be dammed if I can’t pull it out of my brain from the start.
What I’m trying to say is that I cannot spell. I have relied on technology to assist my spelling for more than 13 years now, and I don’t think I’ve been deterred from reading. I don’t think my vocabulary has suffered significantly. I don’t think my writing is any less for it (I usually fix my mistakes). I don’t think I’m any less of a person because I control-click on the little red squiggly line and allow my Mac to help me. I have a learning disability that directly affects my ability to spell, yet I manage to write every day without an abnormal number of spelling errors. If I can get by without spelling, I’m pretty sure anyone can. Who needs spelling?
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t teach kids to spell. Kids need to learn all of that crap. When they grow up they can decide whether it’s important that they can spell something like “deciduous” without technological assistance. Me? I just used the red squiggly line trick. If I can’t use a computer, I’ll just say the tree isn’t evergreen. I can live with that. Now, here is a video of Mary and me trying to write a note to someone in a fairly awesome car. We’ll show you how to spell words on the fly. Or we’ll show you how to look like a twat in public.