Do you know what happens when you type “dang” into a text? On my phone, the little brain that lives inside and that insists on trying to complete my messages suggests the word “autocorrect.” And I for one agree with that little brain inside my phone. “Dang autocorrect” is the 2018 version of humanity’s cry. If there were a first runner-up choice for the 2018 version of humanity’s cry I would offer “Why didn’t I proofread before I hit ‘send’?” All of this might be sour grapes because of the certainty the little brain that lives inside my phone is immeasurably smarter than I am and probably has better fashion sense.
There is a web site (naturally there’s a web site) called “Damn Autocorrect.” It might be the funniest thing I have ever read anywhere and certainly the funniest thing on the Internet which is often filled with news of the impending end of days. I would love to pull some of those phone-originated boo-boos off the site and list them here but they are almost universally centered on the subject of really bizarre sexual practices or gastrointestinal tract mishaps. And you know there is nothing funnier than someone else’s gastrointestinal mishaps. They most assuredly aren’t material for inclusion in a family newspaper. They probably are even a little too risqué for Penthouse Forum.
But, really, who needs a web site? Anyone who has owned a phone for longer than two days probably has their own store of incredibly embarrassing, wish-I-hadn’t-sent-it awful mistakes. A friend of mine was commenting on the political climate surrounding the election. She was a highly esteemed teacher whose government classes were very popular. She worked in D.C. as a Congressional aide and is deeply involved in local politics. In other words, she has great credibility and holds enormous respect in the community. She meant to send an email that included the phrase “I don’t understand that while people complain about politics, so few act on their dissatisfaction.” Unfortunately, the message she sent read “I don’t understand white people …”
And from another friend’s mother: “What are your plans?” “Nothing beyond seeing you dead.” We are all working on the assumption she meant “dear” unless Joan Crawford has returned to the living and is still being emotionally abusive to her children.
Autocorrect is only part of the problem, of course. It’s that message completion thing that I don’t even know the name of. Hold on! I just found it! This is amazing … I actually found some setting on my phone that I was looking for. This has never happened before. Usually I spend 10 or 20 minutes scrolling through the same headings, looking for a vague link to whatever it is I am puzzled about (and I am puzzled about many things on my phone) and right there, I found the heading “Predictive.” That’s it. It predicts what you want to say and then finishes your statement, just like a really rude guest at a dinner party. Just to prove irony didn’t die the day Le Duc Tho won the Nobel Peace Prize, finding the predictive setting is not intuitive. It’s under “settings” then “general” then something else. But wait! There’s more! I was in spin class with a guy who just about had his phone grafted right onto his head. He spent a lot of time on that phone. He saw me texting once and was amazed at how inept I was. This, by the way, is a very common reaction by people who see me texting. “You need (insert unintelligible techono-speak words),” he said. Apparently, if typing “On my way” is too onerous, phone users can set up a system so that when you type “omw” your phone will replace that with the three-word phrase. All you have to do is (I am drawing a big breath here) enter “settings” then “general” then “keyboard” then “text replacement.” You can put all sorts of little shortcuts under text replacement. Here is something I learned pretty quickly. Do not use little shortcuts that are too little or too short, specifically do not use just one letter. Because every time I start a word with the letter “H” my phone goes ahead and says “Have a nice day.” Even if I do not necessarily want the recipient to have a nice day.
The problem with this is (and you just knew there was going to be a problem with this), I forget what my shorthand is. Under spin-class-guy’s tutelage, I set up about five shortcuts, all of which I have to continually go back to (settings, general, keyboard, text replacement, etc., etc., etc.) to refresh my memory, mis-hitting keys all the while (white?). This is not a world for the fat-fingered.
And on a final note: the man who invented autocorrect has died. May he restaurant in peace.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.