Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Bad Spelling Gene

I won the school spelling bee in sixth grade. My brother won athletic trophies all the time; I did not. I've only won two trophies in my lifetime. I still have the trophy somewhere. It was THAT big of a deal. To me, anyway. I inherited my spelling abilities from my mom. I also inherited her OCD tendencies, and the older I get, the more often they pop up.

Last night I went to see my niece act in a play at her school. While I was there I noticed that there was a spelling error on the bulletin board. The word "heroes" was spelled "heros". I was proud of myself--I waited until the play was over before I weirded completely out. I could barely pay attention to the play because of that misspelled word, but as far as I know, I did not disrupt the play. Yay me!

I used to be able to calmly view spelling errors in public and not even bat an eye. Someone at a restaurant writes "Korn" as the vegetable of the day? I'd notice it, then move on. Back then, I did not feel a need to ask to see a manager. I did not run up to the chalkboard sign and erase the offending word or try to correct it. No problem.

These day, those misspelled words are Freddy Kreuger talons on tin to me. I understand what is happening. I know I am freaking out over nothing. I've told myself on several occasions that I was taking spelling just a little too seriously. I've also told myself that bad spelling is not the end of the world.

Except it is.

If I see a word misspelled on a sign or in a blog, it is as if that word has been blown up into huge letters, doused in gasoline, and set on fire. I can't not see it. And since I am a fixer, I have to fix it. Have to.

People don't really like it when I tell them that they misspelled a word. They think that I am rude. But that is too bad, because I am compelled to tell them that they screwed up the spelling. I try very hard not to be patronizing or snarky in anyway, however, I am telling someone that they screwed up. I really have been lucky that someone hasn't punched me right in the face. Nobody likes to know that they screwed up. Least of all, me!

I am trying to be less obnoxious about the spelling. There are times like tonight, however, that I just can't help it. I wanted to fix that sign with "heros" on it. I was like a junkie in need of a fix; circling every misspelled word with an invisible red pen. I finally just told someone. I had to take them to the bulletin board and explain in detail, and they looked at me as if I were nuts. And as I was talking, I decided that I might actually BE nuts.

At least about misspelled words.


  1. When it comes to blogs, I'm sure a misspelled word or grammatically incorrect sentence squeaked by. I do my best to read, reread and reread again to ensure it doesn't happen. Misspells on a blog tend to effect my respect for them. I just try to keep in mind that nobodies perfect and I wouldn't want someone to stop reading my posts because something slipped by me.

  2. I always freak out before I hit the 'publish' button for fear I've made a spelling or grammar error. I have a hard time with my own work as I tend to hear it as opposed to see it in writing, if that makes any sense....feel free to correct mine any time. I welcome the advice. :)

  3. I hate when I read an old blog post of mine and see bad spelling or incomplete sentences.... I am awful at double checking my work.. I think I got it right but then oops -
    Have a great weekend..
    I've Become My Mother
    I've Become My Mother facebook

  4. ...And I just noticed that I made a spelling/grammar error in this post!!!

    *face palm*

  5. You are not NUTS, and you are totally correct! I am a VERY bad speller and even more so since the creation of 'auto correct' and 'spell checker'. I have become very reliant on them! But, considering my company name is a 'misspelling' I guess I can't complain too much! ~Krafty Max

  6. if you are nuts then I most definitely am too. Misspelled words make me CRAZY!!!

    When I worked at the newspaper for 21 and a half yrs my co-workers used to call me "Webster." Whenever they needed a word spelled, who did they go to?

    My Sundays were spent circling the ads in the Classified section (the dept I worked in) that contained misspelled words. I just couldn't help myself.

    Misspelled words are bad enough in our daily life but when I see misspelled words in a newspaper, on a blog, book, magazine or whatever, misspelled words by those who REPRESENT the written word, to me it is a crime that deserves a loooooong sentence!
    Oh and I won my 6th grade spelling bee too! The kid I beat later went on to become a A blogger......go figure :)

  7. Haha! You're not alone, girlfriend!! Those who dare to ask for my proofreading skills have come to dread that red pen ... but I see the whole not-caring-about-spelling thing to be symptomatic of society's greater woes. It's just another way of not caring about slipping standards. But you know that too, right??!!


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