Monday, February 23, 2015

I Was a Troll

The techie guy at work put out a note on our website that used the word "inputted", as in "...the dates will be inputted by the school psychologists"   The way the sentence was written seemed incorrect. Perhaps it was a slow day inside my brain.  It sounded wrong to me, so I mentioned that to the techie person, just in passing.  I wasn't challenging him, I just said that it sounded funny. The techie guy informed me, in the usual condescending tone all Technology Guys seem to have, that he wasn't the one who wrote that particular sentence.

Okay, I said.

What I should have said was nothing.  I should have just kept my mouth shut.  I got a lengthy email the next morning from the techie person regarding the fact that yes, indeed, "inputted" was a word, complete with references to the Oxford English Dictionary, page numbers included. For a comment about a sentence that he did not even write!

But I laughed hard when I read the email. The kind of laughter that comes from your belly and makes you feel as though you just completed a sprint.  The kind of laughter that just forces the positive to surge to the surface and ooze out of your pores, no matter how hard you try to keep it inside. The kind of laughter that clears out the chemo fog and makes you feel energetic, at least for a few minutes.

Why was I laughing?

Because I used to do stuff like that all the time in my teens.  I was horrible about it. I cringe now, but I had to be right. I had to correct everyone's grammar and make sure that their facts were correct at all times.  Since we moved often, I needed some sort of control over something, and being right was it.  The positive side of this behavior resulted in people talking to me and asking me questions, and complimenting me for being "smart".  The negative side of my bad habit was that I was kind of a jerk.  To be fair, I hadn't really mastered the whole social skills thing yet, but that's no excuse.

I was a troll, to use today's internet vernacular. 

This was before the internet, too, so you can just imagine how insufferable I was to be around. How evil was I?  My cousins used to write me letters; I sent them back with errors circled.  It was so important for me to be right that I once humiliated a boy that I had a major crush on because he said that cold sores were not herpes.  I provided him a two paged typed report, with footnotes, which he thought was a love note and opened in front of his peers. I was lonely and dateless on Saturday night, but I was right, by God.

I grew up and got over myself.  I had a major epiphany in college, when I realized that there were a great many kids just like me and got to view their behavior and compare it to my own. They were pompous, insufferable jerks, and I wanted to punch most of them right in the face.  But that anger made me take a hard look at myself.  It wasn't pretty, and I decided to make a change. I began to focus on the person, not on their perceived mistakes, and that's made all the difference.

The fact is that, while I do know some things about some topics,  I'm not always right.  I accept that. While I am well-read and love learning, I certainly don't know everything.  That's okay.   By hyperfocusing on such meaningless things, a person might miss the bigger picture.  I love the big picture. Especially now, with my days being measured out via doctor visits and chemo treatments. With so much to learn, and so many facts changing every second due, who has time to focus on just one tiny "wrong" particle in this vast universe? 

I do not.  And I'm okay with that.  


  1. I cannot imagine you being a "corrector" as a kid.

    There is a time and place to correct people. In a school environment, incorrect grammar and word usage is important to note. Have you ever noticed that if you teach something wrong, every kid will remember that fact.

    I did school programs and a teacher had her students interrupting making a chorus of a fact in their classroom. One was incredibly wrong. So I corrected her. She defended who she learned it from. I again told her real fact. I don't think you let twenty second graders learn something incorrectly.

    I was not critical. I corrected speech in my classroom. As I told my students, it was my job to correct them. If we meet at the grocery store, it would be rude of me. There is a time and place for everything.

    I grew up where speech is substandard and learned that we are judged on our speech and how we write. Furthermore as a quasi-scientist, I taught my students that a good scientist is always open to new discovery.

    There is an awkwardness to the phrase. I would have to look at the complete sentence. I think the phrasing with the word "inputted will be" should have been "inputted will have". I used this handy site,

    And yes, I am completely serious. Just tell that IT guy a retired teacher would have brought tears to his eyes and not felt any guilt. LOL

    1. Oh I forgot this little jewel, "Education is about the pursuit of excellence and not being perfect."

  2. Well said! I am always willing to learn from teachers!

  3. I still have to tell myself, to let it go....but at least I don't do this anymore. I had to be right and it was not attractive.

  4. Hehe Yet I see you have not changed your disclaimer regarding comments : )


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!