A Letter to Spell Check

By Amelia Ell:

My dearest Spell Check,

You and I have had a good relationship for a long time and I don’t want to change that. You’ve been there for me when my sleep-deprived brain was more interested in the regenerative abilities of axolotls than the deadline for my lab report on mitosis (only one of which is a subject worth studying). I still remember the first time you guided my uncultivated hand in 3rd grade. The thrill of learning that beecuz was in fact spelt “because”! I know Grammarly has been making business a little hard for you lately, but there are a few issues we have to discuss.

Ever since you’ve introduced the blue underline, writing has become an endless passive-aggressive struggle. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to be condescending with your omnipotent internet wisdom. We all know what “suggesting errors” really means. Now, normally I don’t speak to people who don’t consider “thingy” to be a real word. But here we are. I just don’t understand why I have to add words to my “personal dictionary” as if my own adjectives don’t deserve a spot in the real dictionary. If something is so absurdly spicy that it feels like edible gunpowder, or if it appears to be a small, red-barrelled explosive, I can’t think of a better descriptor than dynamitey. I don't need all of my obscure onomatopoeias documented for your entertainment, but just to get you off my back, I added "kablooey" to my personal dictionary. Happy now?

Another issue I would like to address is your deliberate refusal to view my friend as a human being. Kaytelinn has enough trouble fitting her ludicrously long name on a nametag without the added stress of being shamed by a computer. Do I agree that Katelyn would have been a perfectly suitable name to give a child? Yes. Do I think that a less obscure variation is both more practical and easier to spell? Of course. But would I explicitly write that out on a computer screen? … Point is, Kaytelinn shouldn’t have to suffer for the questionable decisions on her birth certificate.

Your squiggly red lines haunt me like the plagu. I bet you’re itching to call me out on that missing e right now. Even in my dreams I can’t escape them, seeing them scrawling their judgemental scarlet in my nightmares. I feel the uncontrollable urge to pull up Google dictionary whenever I see that particular shade of red in public. Every Valentine’s Day my search history bids farewell. Perhaps that’s one thing I can thank you for.

All I want is for us to agree that everyone makes mistakes. If you’re willing to offer me a little creative freedom here and there, I promise I’ll never mix up “your” and “you’re” again. Add Kaytelinn to the global dictionary, and maybe I’ll consider throwing in the “there” homophones.

Sincerely yours,