So I open up Microsoft Word, my application of choice within whose electronic embrace I am writing my second novel, and it does that thing where it kind of pauses. The egg timer doesn’t appear but you can tell it’s working hard at something in the background. It calculates the number of words (11,801 if you want to know) and then the little animated spellchecker book in the status bar starts turning its pages like billy-o.
This is all par for the course. So I wait. And I wait.
And eventually a little dialogue box pops up. One I have never ever seen before in over 10 years of using Microsoft Office.
Apparently there are now “too many spelling and grammatical errors” in my novel for Spellchecker to continue working. So basically it isn’t going to. Spellchecker is going to stop. It’s going on strike and is putting its feet up. If I want Spellchecker to check my document in future I will need to press a button to activate it, i.e. I have to go out of my way and ask it nicely in future.
Great. I have broken Spellchecker. Me, little me, who prides himself on having a decent grasp of English. Sure, I occasionally slip up. The odd typo will appear now and then. I have sometimes, in the heat of the creative moment, written “your” instead of “you’re” but on the whole I like to think I can string a sentence together correctly.
Plainly those years at school and university, those years studying poetry and prose, those painful years writing it have been a waste. I am incompetent at using my own native language. Bill Gates has effectively told me so.
Well, sod you, Spellchecker. Especially as, typing this as I am in another Word document, you have underlined “sod” in blue because you don’t recognize it as a legitimate word, you know naff all about English. You know diddly-squat (there you go again – diddly gets a red underline) about how real people talk, about colloquialisms, about the realities of human speech and the creative literary process. You’re just a big list of rules and regulations and if something doesn’t quite match up with your limited parameters you spit the dummy.
Well, if you don’t want to Spellcheck my novel, fine. I don’t need you. I had a literary life before you came along and I’ll get along just fine without you now that you’ve turned your back on me. Yoo’ll see. I don’t need yoo anymoor. I can cope perfektly well wivout yoo, thank yoo very mutch. Take your stoopid Spellchecker and sod of.
We’ll see who has the biger kareer in inglish wont we?