As a writer, one thing you want to strive for is complete ackuracy. You don’t want grammatical mistakes in your work because this undermines your writing and makes you look like a toad.
Still, errors and typos do happen. One of the main culprits is autocorrect. Modern computers and smartphones are always correcting spelling without your permission, and the software often gets it wrong. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been burned by autocorrect.
I once wrote a heartfelt column about a man who nearly died in the hospital. I attempted to tell his story by describing his tearful return home. When I wrote about how his daughters rolled his wheelchair up the sidewalk and into his house for a triumphal entry, autocorrect happened.
I wrote: “Today, the old man’s family pushed him straight into his casket.”
I was aiming for the word “castle.”
Here’s another one:
My friend and fellow writer, Beau, was writing a social media post for his wife who was returning home after a trip to Europe. Beau wrote a romantic essay for her in which he stated: “I have been waiting all month to see those big beautiful dimples again.”
Big deal, you’re thinking, what’s wrong with that? The big deal is that autocorrect replaced “dimples” with a word that rhymes with “fipples.”
So the main problem with autocorrect is that it’s on drugs. You’ll be typing along and misspell the word “hapy” and your device immediately grasps what you were trying to write and helpfully replaces the word with “Russia.”
When I wrote this column, for instance, my computer flagged misspellings on words like “Beau,” and “fipples,” but it had no problem with “ackuracy.”
Still, this is no excuse. As a writer you must painstakingly proofread your work and catch all your senseless eros.
Which is why I highly recommend getting married to a math teacher. Speaking from experience, math teachers make excellent proofreaders because in the world of mathematics there is no room for mistakes. A math teacher is accustomed to following strict rules. My math-teaching wife can look at my incorrect verb conjugations and announce with total certainty, “My husband is an idiot.”
I bring all this up because in a recent column I wrote about an elderly woman who received a farewell party at a medical facility, I misspelled a crucial word. Actually, autocorrect misspelled it. Nevertheless, I take responsibility.
Here’s what I wrote:
“They were all there. Rehab nurses, janitors, orderlies, candy strippers…”
You’ve probably already caught the mistake.
I unintentionally wrote that exotic dancers, possibly named Candy, were present for the stirring hospital send off of an elderly Methodist woman.
What I meant to write, of course, was “candy stripers,” a term applied to female hospital volunteers.
This mistake earned me lots of emails. And it gave me great pleasure to forward each irate email to my proofreading math teacher.
I was, however, surprised to receive emails from youngish people who asked what exactly candy stripers were. Many youngsters had never heard of them. You have to worry about where this country is going.
So for any young people who don’t know what a candy striper is, let me tell you about them.
The whole idea started in 1944, at Vernon L. Davey Junior High School in East Orange, New Jersey, where Miss Ruth Lindsay was teaching a civics class. Miss Ruth came up with an idea for her students to volunteer at a local hospital.
She gave the girls in her class red-and-white striped fabric for uniforms, and the whole class—this just shows how different times were—sewed their own pinafores. Many girls thought the smocks made them look like walking peppermint candies. Candy stripers.
The first candy stripers started in East Orange General Hospital, they wore Red Cross patches to show patients they had completed Red Cross training. And in just over a decade, Miss Lindsay’s concept of junior hospital volunteers had spread to 47 U.S. states, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Australia, and Israel.
There have been millions working in the medical profession who claim their experiences volunteering as candy stripers motivated them to enter the medical field.
Over the decades the red-and-white aprons started fading out when males started joining up. Today, junior hospital volunteers usually wear polo shirts and khakis. Technically, these volunteers are still candy stripers.
I actually worked as a male candy striper one summer with my church as a teenager. And let me state for the record, I didn’t wear a striped pinafore dress. Mine was just plain.
So I hope I’ve cleared things up. And I also want to apologize for any pain and suffering my misspelling brought to anyone who has ever brought kindness to others by performing the services of a candy stripper.