Suddenly I cannot type ‘thank you’ correctly. About a month ago I was sitting at the computer zipping through one of the eight gazillion e-mails I send at work every day and in my haste to type faster my fingers stumbled over each other and spelled ‘thnak you’. As kindly and well-intended as a good ‘thnaking’ might be, it does not really have the same effect as a traditional ‘thanking’.
While performing my usual pre-send proof reading, I saw that familiar angry wiggly red line under ‘thnak’. I hate that line. I imagine if the speaker volume were cranked up that the red line would be taunting me with a “nar nar nar, not so fast doofus”. I’m not fond of it’s cousin, the wiggly blue ‘your grammar is wonky’ line either, but it does not seem as hostile and mean spirited as that red one. Maybe I’m just sensitive about my spelling.
I have never been the best speller in the world. Hell, I have never been in the top 75% of the best spellers in the world. I mean, I have about as much chance of sprouting a unicorn horn and rainbow wings to fly over a rainbow to the lottery office and claim my billion dollar winning prize as I do competitively competing with those twelve year olds correctly spelling “wayzgoose, “heiligenschein” or “marocain” at the National Spelling Bee. I don’t think I could even win a lower-end participation trophy at the National Spelling Cee, Dee Or Zee.
I remember my Mom working so hard to teach me mnemonic devices to help me memorize my elementary school spelling lists. I recall her standing next to me at our old dining room table going “or”, pushing out her chest like a marching parade pitch bass drummer “chest” and pretending to be cheering after a concert “ra”… “or-chest-ra… orchestra”. My memory just works weirdly. I could easily tell you the name of the song, artist and label for every phonograph record everyone in my family owned but a list of a couple of dozen spelling words took hours of labor to make stick.
It never made sense to my teachers that going into sixth grade I had the reading level of a high school senior yet I could not spell basic stuff like the three ‘theres’. I still constantly mix up my ‘whethers. No wonder I only lasted a year as an English major in college. Of course, that was before everyone had a home computer; I guess those now familier red and blue wavy lines would have dramatically improved my essay and term paper grades.
My Wife’s spelling might not be remarkable either but she makes up for it with her zen-ish multi-tasking Flash-like typing skills. She can wail away at a keyboard, fingers moving so fast you can barely see them, while she continuously looks you straight in the eye having a whole separate conversation. Your allowed to have the occasional misspelling when your typing more words-per-minute than I can type words-per-month. Watching her hands fly on a keyboard reminds me of that old 1970s cheesy Six Million Dollar Man show where to show his bionic speed they simply sped up the film so everything moved crazy fast.
So back at my desk, I was wrapping up another e-mail today and I typed yet another ‘thnak you’. That damn ‘N’ was still sneaking in front of the ‘A’. Apparently, my heavily-used right index finger liked cutting off my wimpy left pinky like a well-worn Mac truck barreling around an old low millage original Mini Cooper. Then it happened again and again and again. I can’t seem to stop it.
So yes, suddenly I cannot type ‘thank you’ correctly. ‘Thnaking’ has become an ugly irritating habit like nail biting or knuckle cracking. I am now faced with the daunting task of trying to re-train my brain and I don’t have my Mom standing next to me to assist. My noddley noggin does not like remembering new things. I guess I wasted too much of my memory capacity when I was a kid memorizing the lyrics to the flip-sides of those old 45’s records. I might still know most of the words to the B-side of ‘Shaving Cream’ by Benny Bell, ‘The Girl From Chicago’ or the other side of Paper Lace’s ‘The Night Chicago Died’, ‘Can You Get It When You Want It’, but teaching this old dog’s brain a new trick is not going to be easy.
Maybe I could just start a new ‘thnaking’ trend. If folks these days can ‘fleek’, ‘hundo p’, ‘dis’ and ‘suh’, why can’t I ‘thnak’? So once again thnak you all for reading.