Monday, March 30, 2009

Who makes up the 45%

I have recieved the same forward from two different friends in recent weeks. It is a message of spelling so bad it makes my writing look down right legable. I have attached it below for your own entertainment. The message claims that only 55% of people can read it. I am curious who the 45% that can't read it are. I have no problem reading this text, and I tend to think of myself as a fairly crappy reader.

My guess is that the statistics are way off base here. Maybe only 55% of second graders could read this or something. Anyway, if you can't read this please let me know. I am very currious about the reading habits of people that can't read this paragraph.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuol t blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Secret of Writing

I had a number of imaginary friends as a child, but the two most prominent characters in my imaginary life were Jonny and Crystal. They were brother and sister and lived in a house on my street. The real residence of the house never seemed to be home, and in my mind I knew children needed to live there. So I invented some.

I knew that Jonny and Crystal weren’t real people, I just loved making up stories about them. I would think of situations that I wished I could experience, but the things I thought of never seemed to happen to me. I didn’t want to lie and claim these thins had happened to me, but I still wanted to tell people about the adventure I dreampt up. So I told people that they happened to Jonny, and Crystal, and their friends.

When my friends at school asked me why they didn’t know Jonny and Crystal, I explained that they attended private school. Over time my tales became more and more outlandish, and soon everyone knew Jonny and Crystal were not real people. As I got older my pears began to tease me about my stories. Telling me I was to old to have imaginary friends. I decided that I wasn’t to old for Jonny and Crystal, but Jonny and Crystal were to old for me. So they moved to Palm Springs – that is where people move when they get old after all.

After Jonny and Crystal moved away, I became overwellmingly curious about what they were doing in Palm Springs. Where they making new friends? Where they going on new adventures without me? About a week after their moving van pulled out of town I recieved a letter, written in my own illegable handwriting, from Jonny and Crystal. Over the next few years, Jonny and Crystal wrote me numberous letters telling me all about their exciting new lives. I delighted in retelling their adventures to my living friends.

Eventually I started writing stories about other people – and I stopped claiming to know my fictitious characters. But the day I got that first letter in the mail, I knew I would become a writer. Because I knew the secret. Writing is nothing more than a socailly acceptable way to play with your imaginary friends, and I have always had a lot of imaginary friends.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Words I Hate

There are a lot of words that I have no idea how to spell. For the most part I’m comfortable with that. There are a lot of very long words that are perfectally phonetic, so even if I’m not aware that I know how to spell them I am able to guess right. The problem is the words that I know I can’t spell. Words that I use all the time, and spell wrong every single time I use them. I know that I can’t spell them. I want to learn how to spell them. But it just doesn’t happen. I continue to misspell these killer words day after day after day.

I am breaking my rules a bit – I am going to use spell check to figure out the correct spelling of these words for the sake of this discussion. Here is a list of the words that pleage me most:

Tomorrow – Why is it spelled that way? In my mind the most phonetic spelling would be tomarow. I figured out that one of the consinents was doubled so I started spelling it tommarow, but I was still wrong. Then I started spelling it tomarrow, but still I’m wrong. Then I realized that tomorrow is the one word in the English language where a hard r sound is spelled with an or instead of an ar. So I started spelling it tomorow, or tommorow. Sometimes I do spell it tomorrow, but it is purely a matter of chance. I have no idea how to spell this word, I just know it is one of about 8 spellings, and I readomly guess. Sometimes I guess right, but most of the time I guess wrong.

Awkward – Awkward is an awkward word, it seems fitting somehow. The letter pattern wkw is not common place. I honestly don’t have the slightest clue how to spell this word. It is one that I normally have to find by looking up odd, or uncomfortable in the thesarus – but awkward is such an awful word it doesn’t even have good synomims. For a while I thought there was a qu in the middle of it – there isn’t. But the spelling seems so buzar to me that I typally toss random letters into word and simply pray that I’ll come up with a suggestion. It happens rairly. Lately I’ve been taking my not knowing how to spell this hellish word as a sign I need to expand my vocabulary. I need to stop writing about auquerd characters just so I can stop attempting to spell this horrible horrible string of seven letters.

Through/Threw/Though/Throw/Thought… - Can somebody please tell me why through is pronounced exactly the same way as threw, but though is pronounced the same way as throw. I hate ough! Does it make a ō sound, or an aw sound, or an ew sound? Why does it have to make all three when followed by a th? I am always spelling these words wrong. Ough’s should be outlawed. In a perfect world these words would be spelled threw/threw/thoe/throw/thaut.

Orange/Arrange: - Clearly I have a problem with these words because I had to look organize up in the thesarous in order to find out how to spell arrange. I always think the color/fruit is spelled orenge and the management of clutter is spelled orange, or possably orainge. That makes sence to me. I’m actually a bit shocked that these words are spelled so differently, seeing as how I have been confusing them for years.

Seismic: - I understand that most people rairly used this word, but for my day job I’m a structural engineer, so I actually use this word a lot. Isn’t it evil? Looking at it don’t you just feel my pain? Here are a few alternative spellings that I like a lot better – sciesmic, sciesmic, seiscmic, seismic… Anything would be better than seismic. And really why do they teach you “I before E except after C” in elementry school? I keep on trying to put a c in this word, but it doesn’t belong. Yet there is still an e before the i.

Of/off: - I do know how to spell of, really I do. It only has two letters, and it is one of the most common words in the English language. I figured out that of is the one case where an f makes a va sound, and I got over it. Occationally if I’m writing really fast and not thinking about it a ov will sneek in. But for the most part I’ve got of down. My bigger problem is off. I never want to put in that second f. Because I know in my heart of hearts that of is supposed to be spelled ov, I feel comfortable spelling off of. Spell check doesn’t even catch this error though – since of is a real word. Why do the most common words always have to have the weirdest spellings?

Lettuce: This really isn’t one of my least favorite words. It doesn’t bother me in the least bit that I consistantly spell it letus. My spelling makes perfect sence, and every time I put letus on the grocery list my husband brings home a bundle of leafy greens. He just always scoffs at me afterwards. Like there is something wrong with not being able to spell letus. I mean really – who does he think he is married to?