The Typo-Dermic Needle
Typos and hypos, hippies and hipsters; we all make mistakes when it comes to placing words to paper or digital devices. We have become addicts now – injecting ourselves with typo-dermic needles filled with the narcotic of word counts and spell checks – never mind a Webster dictionary that is as thick as a Jethro Tull brick and can actually be used as a weapon in the proper hands – let alone a writer’s right arm with pronunciations, exclamatory proclamations, punctuations, comma’s and exclamations, derivatives of words from Latin. Long gone are the days when a symbol of a hawk was a whole sentence to spelunker cave drawings, which told a tale similar in form to comic strips in the newspaper in the language of the Great Literary Neanderthal Hemingway’s tales of the hunt, the wheel, and fire.
Remember when you used a typewriter and your best friend was a bottle of White Out? Misspellings occurred but didn’t matter as you had your trusty bottle of white liquid magic that hid the typo from prying eyes. Not completely of course, as it’s image was always there: dim, fading, hiding under the new layer of black ink from the ribbon – not completely erased -a veritable Shroud of Turin. If White Out wouldn’t work, there was always the rubber eraser – a rubber is always considered protection under any circumstances be it sexual or literary. Today that prophylactic protection is a thing of the past and we like to ride bareback but there is the delete button always ready, locked and loaded, and as well as armed and aimed at the enemy – the proverbial typo – the mistake – the wrong key hit – the right key missed – the writer now pissed – two questions – how do you misspell a cave symbol – second – how do you correct it? Just scratch it out with stone – start all over again – in effect igneous rocks and granite stones were the “delete” button of yore – or in Typo – “your” – the typo temptress rushes us along – catches us off guard – kicks us in the balls – or in the vagina. Lucky for you it’s recessed – balls are sitting ducks as targets – I’ll trade for a vagina any day – for a lot of reasons – never mind don’t go there unless I had a vagina then please, go there!
It’s not just hitting the wrong keys that makes for a typo fest in a writer’s works, it’s the words, the spellings itself that brings us back to cave writing – an animal running with horns and a spear thrown, the hunt is on, period. No other way to say it, but take our English Language please! Ok, sorry, Henny Youngman just raced through my brain momentarily, only stopping to take a pee, then went on his merry way words – too many ways to spell them here not make that there, “there”, “their”, “they’re”, then of course the various bastardizing versions from other the hillbilly minds comes “thar” as it does also from the nautical sea dog the whaler the pirate, “Thar she blows.” What the hell does that mean? They found Linda Lovelace on her knees? Of course she blows, and that she be looking for Moby Dick. I’m changing my name to Moby just for that…
The Pontification of where and when to insert your punctuation!
Punctuation is confusing; when do you insert your exclamation point into someone’s semi-colon? Some people have whole colons and of course many don’t like to insert it if a sentence is having a period but many of us also don’t mind at all you just have to know if it’s that time of the literary month. Then Tampons usually replace exclamation points for a short while so don’t get your adverbs in a bunch or your adjectives in an uproar you’ll (yule, Yul as in Bryner, you all, ya’ll) period or not you can feast at the court of the Crimson Queen while enjoying a Tampon popsicle.
Words count so count your words with a word count program, check your spelling with spell check, but don’t check your spelling at the door. For god’s sake, don’t text –the ultimate violation rape of the English language is text. I told a friend, a fellow writer who, like me, writes at a furious pace and he, like me, leaves a rather large body count of typos in his literary wake. We actually pride ourselves, subconcsiously on who can outdo the other in sheer numbers of dead words littered on the battlefield. Broken and bleeding words, dying, last gasp and breath, unless the medics arrive in time with their bag of tricks and vials of the drug Spell Check. Speed kills, spell saves, the typo-dermic needle is filled with the liquid. Yes, literature and liquid not a typo this time around is injected into the article or chapter or blog and the whole piece feels peace and inner contentment. The junkie got his fix, the English majors can now jack off to honour a writer’s perfection no words misspelled life is grand once again. Editors can relax, they usually fix things anyway, look at Kerouac: half of On The Road was edited down by his publisher and punctuation filled in like potholes on a city street.
I have not done a spell check on this, I don’t care to do that, so have yourself a treasure hunt and find them. Little pearls where I have fucked up; English majors and editors love to engage in that pastime, not seeing the forest for the trees, smugly pointing out the mistakes, blinded by the light. “Do wah diddy diddy” I’ve always said. Editors are why God created writers, they clean up all the technical crap and dung we leave in our path; or like NASCAR the writer is the driver but every writer, like every driver in a race needs a pit crew to change the tires, check the spelling, re-fuel the machine, check under the hood for punctuation and grammar and then send the driver back to the track but in the end it’s the writer that gets the girl (or the guy), and the champagne!
Texting and the devolution of properly typed type!
Now, textesterone: Save the Words, the Whales Can Wait! It’s a sad state of affairs when testosterone is replaced by textesterone. There is texting competition and feats of strength on the digital battlefield of language honour. When typing was in full fashion and vogue, you had to use 10 fingers and whip out 85 wpm. Today it’s a two thumb proposition that allows for not only speed but also coded wording that is at once as unfathomable to the average person from Gary Indiana, trying to make heads or tails while attempting in vain to decipher the Rosetta Stone in their leisure spare time after a bowling tournament.
Ancient symbols once sufficed sufficiently as tall tales and legendary mythology on cave walls or parchment scrolls. These symbols of birds and animals and infinity were soon replaced by “language” perhaps a grunt and a groan here and there to acknowledge a good meal or a terrific piece of cavewoman ass. They still haven’t seen any displays of carnal carvings on cave walls to describe how man and woman first discovered the fire of passion, let alone flame for the campfire, the wheel or where and why to insert the male organ into the female receptacle.
In time, language emerged as words, the creations of learned men, not unlearned men, not women, yet it was that period of time when if you had a period you could not read nor write to add a period to the end of a sentence. It was all printed out by hand, in pen or what passed for a pen in those ancient times, until a man named Gutenberg made type movable and the world learned the art of books and bindings. These were eventually placed in places of learning and great libraries were built in Greece, Rome and a colossal one in Rhodes!
The words were soon shared with the “gasp!” public as they learned to read about art, history, and most threatening of all to any government: new ideas, words made you think, to absorb, to want to learn more. The slaves brought over from Africa to this continent were forbidden to be allowed to learn to read. Reading promotes ideas just ask the British Empire and their hatred for Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” or Karl Marx and “Das Capital” or worse, “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler. Man and Superman on a rocket ride to power.
Words were literature for centuries. Chaucer, Dickens, Wells, Fitzgerald, Thompson, Kesey and the list goes on. Until literature was kidnapped for the mass media: words like Kleenex became standard, Xerox, another manufactured assembly line word, Kodak moments not Kodiak Bear Moments. You no longer asked for a copy of anything “gimme a xerox” you would say as easily as ordering a slurpee at a 7/11 in your best broken English so the Pakistani behind the counter will understand your desire to quench your thirst in the American landscape of the language tower of Babel that is multiculturalism.
Sweet Literature: the Maiden fair who is no longer there…
Then along came Texting Tex, Texarkana, Texas, Texmex, TEXT! We have now not only kidnapped the poetry and prose of the English language designed to delight, amaze and educate, but we have also violated raped it and reduced it to the status of hapless victim. We no longer stand in awe of language, but curse it, defile it, destroy it, reduce it to ashes, tear it into small digestible pieces and stomp it into the ground under the boot heel of ignorance and growing illiteracy –leading us headlong on the path the a world where the temperature will be a steady 411 Fahrenheit.
Don’t drink and drive…today just as bad, there are texting manslaughter marauders behind the wheel of the nation’s highways and city streets, because they just have so much that is of ‘supposed’ importance to say in text to a friend that everyone had better run for cover as the SUV comes bearing down on you like a text powered V-2 rocket ready to render you and the language you love into London rubble.
Shortened words…UR for example…I hence U…these are the words of the new ignorant society. Make no mistake, they are words (or intruders) out to replace words that comprise our compositions. I can’t imagine a poem by Poe in text, but it must exist somewhere but perhaps without the cadence and flow of flowers that propel fine poetry. War and Peace would be tragic to Tolstoy if it were reduced to a tome of 3 pages of gibberish. Do Russians text? What would that look like…we already are the dumbed down society speaking only one language, English for the most part, badly at best, and we text it like releasing a harmful disease to infect others. How do the Chinese text when replacing all their symbols? –Which actually is more to the point of ancient writings…symbols for words and ideas. It even looks artistic and beautiful when written down and read, and I don’t even understand it but I enjoy looking at it and appreciating it for it’s artistic merit and conventionality.
Language is a universal bond: “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” by T.E. Lawrence -Plato’s “Republic” – Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” – Caracas “On The Road” -Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, would these still exist as true “literature” in text? Ignorance is growing at an alarming rate! Language is being rounded up, herded onto cattle cars and being taken to an Auschwitz where the ovens are ready to reduce words to ashes, it is a war against words… In Nazi Germany it was anti-semitism on a deranged rampage, now it is a similar war against similes, synonyms, antonyms, verbs, language itself, the destruction of the sentence structure. The obliteration of meaningful idea, the romance of the written word as beautiful as a garden of ideas and images.
The world is getting smaller each day, as is language, as is communication among and between human beings. We no longer speak through face- to- face dialogue but through the medium of online gamers who communicate through the use of electronics where they can assume the role of warrior Viking or Navy Seal. It too has it’s own language, and avatars have in effect become the phallus enis extender of the new male…while texting has already set the fire to burn the books, the ideas, the progress of humankind reducing it to ashes at 411 Fahrenheit.