Check Yourself Before You Autocorrect Yourself

Fast food. It's helpful! But shitty. You know, just like autocorrect. Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Fast food. It’s helpful! But shitty. You know, just like autocorrect. Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images

“Hey! What’s the name of that HBO show you keep telling me to watch?”

“A song of boners.”

“A song of boners? I’m pretty sure that’s not it.”

“Lmao. A GAME OF THROBS I mean.”

“Throbs, huh?”

“OMG. My auto carts socks tonite.”

“Don’t hurt yourself! Game of Thrones! Got it. Thanks!”

“FML.”

Autocorrect technology on smartphones is AMAZING. A miracle technology. It really is.

It will turn a fat-fingered “tinifht” into the intended “tonight.”

It will turn “Swrdos” into “Swedish.”

And “giisbess” into “goodness.”

I can’t even imagine how ridiculous I might sound if I disabled the feature.

But.

Let me say that again. BUT.

It’s also the most maddening piece-of-shit technology I’ve used as well. While it generates laughs…

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…it also drives me insane when I type things 14 times—totally NORMAL properly spelled words—but it still thinks I’m talking about some nonsense I’ve never even heard of before.

I ACTUALLY mean to say the thing I’m typing you stupid SONOFABITCHIN’ phone!!!

It’s brilliant. And completely dumb.

It’s useful. But an obstacle.

It’s helpful. But, my God. It’s also totally shitty.

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It Begs the Question

What other things in this world offer such wonderful helpfulness while simultaneously being awful?

What else has the same helpful-to-shitty ratio?

I brainstormed answers with a friend:

Fast food.

Condoms.

Masturbation.

Vegetables.

Cigarettes.

Lawns.

Good, but bad. Helpful. But shitty.

‘Thank you for this tie.’

It dawned on me that I wanted to write part of this post on my phone and let autocorrect do its thing.

I’m going to do that right now. I’m going to write a fat-fingered, unedited fake cover letter for a fake writing and editing job I’d like to have. I’m going to write it on my autocorrecting phone, then copy and paste it here.

You know. Just to see what happens.

Dear Sir or Madam:

You need a writer and endure, and I need a job. It’s liken it was meant to be.
Since my first news story’s was published as a college studs t, I have dedicated my life for the craft of writing and editing so tree. Tend my days as a beat reporter in Florida, to an trade publics business writer, and now to an internet marketing professional, I possess the writing chops, experience, and keen eye for derails that you are looking diff in an editor.
I am well-versed in both interns and external communicating best practiced, and am confident I’m qualified R&B you positing.
I howled you’re as excited to meet me as I am for mert you. I very much look firewater for meeting you and I can’t the DJ ruin enough for considering me for your opening.
Thank you for this tie.

Sincerely,
Matt

“Thank you for this tie.”

That made me laugh.

That was supposed to say “Thank you for your time.”

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Autocorrect—helpful, but shitty.

I reply to most blog comments on my phone so “if” gets turned into “of” a lot, or some other ridiculous correction happens with great frequency. Sometimes I see them later and edit them.

I bet a bunch of people read my replies and think I’m a stupid moron. I freak out when I write things poorly. Sometimes I publish blog posts and miss a typo and find it the next day and want to die because hundreds of people read it and now think I’m the dumbest person in the world.

Don’t deny it.

A newspaper gets printed daily. Millions and millions of words. But once in a great while you find a misspelling in a photo caption and think: “Hahahahaha! Look how freaking stupid the paper is! No wonder it’s going out of business!”

I just finished Biz Stone’s Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of a Creative Mind, which is the story of Twitter’s creation from one of its three co-founders. I loved it.

But I found two typos. The book probably has 70,000 words. And I found both typos.

“Applaud” was spelled “appluad” (if I’m remembering right) and the word “from” was used when “for” was intended which I mistakenly do ALL THE TIME.

Otherwise, the book was perfect.

But look at me, sitting here remembering those two things. I wonder whether Biz cares.

I’m working on my first book, and in addition to worrying about whether anyone in the entire world will ever give a shit (besides my mom and grandma, who I actually hope never open it), I also worry about how many mistakes might be published.

I once wrote a post called Clean Copy apologizing to readers for the crappy, typo-infested posts I was publishing.

Even if no one likes anything I write, I hope they hate a well-proofread version of my suckage. I hope they hate clean copy.

What Else is Helpful, But Shitty?

There are so many things.

But I wonder how many things can challenge autocorrect for the top of the Helpful, But Shitty Totem Pole.

Bad weed?

Police?

Bowel movements?

I don’t know.

But I bet you do.

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52 thoughts on “Check Yourself Before You Autocorrect Yourself

  1. Tritrigirl says:

    Holy crap! Thank you for the laugh!

    I answered an email once by phone and it was supposed to say:
    “Due to the site’s workload they won’t be able to accommodate a visit.”
    What it said was:
    “Due to the shit’s workload they won’t be able to accommodate a visit.”

    It understood accommodate, but not site. Thankfully my managers who got it thought it was hilarious and it didn’t go to any further up on the food chain. Apparently I curse too much for my own good.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Ha. You and me both. I say “shit” so much I don’t even feel bad about it anymore. We’re to the point where I need to bust the F-word or some really obnoxious, borderline-offensive term for me to feel like I did something wrong.

      Not unlike your managers who enjoyed your typo experience.

      I don’t get it.

      Microsoft Word gets it right, I feel like. “Thier” becomes “Their” and “teh” becomes “the.” Totally helpful. And it drops a nice red line under the stuff it doesn’t recognize as a correctly spelled word.

      “Song of boners.”

      Good God.

      Like

  2. DUUDE! I am so far behind on my comments! I (secretly) like those auto correct texts floating around cyberspace. The funniest ones have to be inappropriate, I guess….which opened up the door for quite a bit of color on this post, eh?….that being said, I’ll add profanity to the list of things but in reverse….they are NOT GOOD…but sometimes…..it’s just right….Shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone I said that though. ;-)

    Like

  3. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Since we use manager and public in our work a lot, I have manger and pubic set up as “misspelled” in my dictionary. That way spell check will catch if something is submitted with those typos before we publish it online and humiliate ourselves.

    My phone still thinks LOL should be LOLITA. That worries me for the day I don’t catch it in time.

    Like

  4. mjmsprt40 says:

    I still have a dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers phone. It can take and make calls, take photos, send and receive text but that’s about it. It has the very most basic web capability, almost no chat worth the bother. So I don’t bother. It gets the job done though, and I don’t worry about autocorrect because my phone doesn’t have it. Seems like a good plan, given what I’ve seen autocorrect churn out on Cheeseburger, amongst other places.
    OK. I’m hopelessly out of date. I was buying an 8-track machine for my car long after cassettes were THE item to have, and I never did upgrade to a CD player in the car. Today you’re out of date if you don’t have the latest greatest I-phone or Android, and– I have a basic phone.

    Like

  5. prettytrippy says:

    Dying, seriously dying, over the examples in this post. HAHA. Bowel movements – the ultimate literal “shitty but helpful” example. I would definitely add shaving to the list. I think you have to be a woman to fully understand, but shaving/waxing your entire body is just exhausting. Helpful in getting past first base but seriously a pain the the ass.

    Very nice lighthearted post for the day :)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      :) Thank you. I’ve been going the serious route for quite a while. It was nice to do something else.

      Shaving is a great addition to the Helpful, But Shitty list!

      Like

  6. suzjones says:

    So you were a college stud hey?

    Like

  7. AndiMirandi says:

    Oh my goodness, Matt! This made me laugh, I had tears streaming down my cheeks!

    You, my friend, are ducking funny!! ;-)

    Like

  8. Dating Fresh says:

    My favorite line: “I am well-versed in both interns and external communicating”

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Ha! That was actually lost on me until right this moment, even though I noticed the typo right away. I didn’t consider the implication. Fun catch! Appreciate you pointing it out.

      Like

  9. AndiMirandi says:

    Reblogged this on AndiMirandi and commented:
    This literally made me laugh out loud! This is one of my favorite blogs and I read it every single day!

    Like

  10. jjbiener says:

    I recently bought a new phone and the first thing I did (and I mean the VERY first thing) was to disable autocorrect. I don’t mind the suggestions, and do use those a lot to save keystrokes, but nothing is more frustrating than having the phone changing what I am writing.

    Like

  11. Hahahahahahahaha… amazing! I was cracking up the whole time! Good one… And the screen shots.. omg! :)

    Like

  12. gluestickmum says:

    Literally shaking with laughter. :D

    Like

  13. Chey Being says:

    Hey, I thought I was the only freak who caught misspelled words in massive size books! ;) They stick out like sore thumbs to me, like someone high-lighted them in red bold print! And yes, I hate it when I make spelling/word errors in my posts too. I re-read them like a hundred times and still miss shit, yet I catch 1/100,000 in a book. How does this make sense? (I have to walk away for a bit and then proof, but I don’t have that kind of patience..You must post NOW…You must post NOW..my brain tells me, like I’m in some freaking race!) Recently, a reader made a comment asking if I meant “wandered” instead of “wondered.” I did and OMG, I was soo embarrassed! I felt like a total idiot. It’s the burden of my perfectionism..sigh. It is also totally stupid and I know it. That’s a start, right? Fun post!
    (My brain…”Dear God, Please don’t let me have any spelling/grammar/punctuation errors in this comment about spelling/grammar/punctuation errors. Thank you. Amen) hee hee

    Like

  14. Caroline says:

    This post was fantastic. I feel like auto-correct is my best friend when I’m drunk. It make me sounds like a champ.. however, when I’m sober, the weirdest shit comes out. I also have the fat finger issue and I feel like the most inappropriate things come out at the most awkward times.

    Also.. things to add to the list:

    -fast food
    -automobiles
    -crutches
    -tampons and pads… pretty much just the whole menstruation cycle.
    -video games
    -make-up
    -photoshop
    -clowns

    I feel like I could go on for days..

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Those are totally good additions to the Helpful, But Shitty List! Thank you.

      Autocorrect is VERY helpful and VERY unhelpful. It’s truly remarkable. I’m not convinced it’s not #1 on the list, in terms of just how great and horrible it is all at the same time.

      Like

  15. Steph says:

    I get so upset when I’m trying to read a great book but I’m finding mistakes. Argh! But, in all fairness, I have been editing medical docs for years now, so probably most people don’t notice. I can’t STAND it when I make a stupid mistake, and even if it’s on FB and 15 people have commented, I have to either fix it or delete it. Seriously. It’s bad. This was hilarious, and if I have any typos, it’s cause new keyboard, lol.

    Like

  16. Chris says:

    “I’m well versed in both interns” beach aha (which is supposed to be ‘bwahaha’)

    Like

  17. Dawn says:

    As a woman, I would have to add bras and panyhose to the list.
    For the auto correct it has made me laugh at myself more than anything. I’m forever apologizing to people for being a horrible proofreader. Even if I do, I always find something later that was completely wrong and don’t even know how the keyboard came up with it.

    Thanks for the laugh and making me feel just a little more normal and less alone. LOL

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Bras are helpful. But are pantyhose? Does hose serve an actual purpose aside from making HR departments and dress code Nazis feel better?

      Like

      • Dawn says:

        Yes they do. They keep things tucking in and smooth. I of course don’t have to wear them any longer….unless it’s a special occasion where I need to get all dressed up and girly…but they are the first thing off, and sometimes in the car ride home. :)

        Like

  18. claywatkins says:

    That was awesome – laughing do hard I had tears streaming down my face / thank you for the laugh!

    Like

  19. C.C. says:

    Just exactly what I needed tonight…thanks for the laugh :-)

    Like

  20. stvrsnbrgr says:

    Matt, get an Android phone. Then download SwiftKey. It’ll change your life. Every time someone hands me their iPhone to show me a photo, I can’t believe how small the screen is – and how many things that gizmo cannot do. So, I guess I’d add iPhone to your list of useful-but-shitty items.

    Like

  21. samara says:

    I love autocorrect.

    My phone is well trained. Everytime I start to type “do,” it automatically fills in “douchecanoe.”
    Like that!
    You have no idea what a timesaver that is.

    Like

  22. Jennie Saia says:

    AhhhhhHAHA.

    Those autocorrect round-ups make me scream-laugh like nothing else.

    Also, a note to my iPhone: Not once have I EVER meant to use the word “motherducker.”

    Like

  23. Wordsgood says:

    Hahaha! Love it! Once I figured out you could turn off the auto-correct function, I was a happy camper. I don’t need software helping me to look stupid. I do enough of that all by myself, thank you very much. Duck off phone. Just duck off! :)

    Like

  24. girlseule says:

    Hahaha oh my god those auto-corrects had me in tears!!

    Like

  25. Perfect. Hilarious. You are such a great writer. Thanks

    Like

  26. I had a giggle at this one. Don’t worry too much about typos Matt. I have just retrieved a document off a database for an essay I’m writing that had several typos and was printed by Harvard. But the article is still great and I’m going to use it, I think that’s what counts. I love reading your work regardless :)

    Like

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