Software Suspicion

Something weird is happening to me. I tend to be pretty wary of the way I use technology, so when I realized what was happening, I must admit I was taken by surprise.

For the past few years I’ve been using Pages, which is Apple’s version of Microsoft Word. I’ve become accustomed to its low-key presence in my writing life, and thus had no incentive to get Word since it does the same thing, only not for free.

When I started at my new job, I was fortunate enough to receive a top of the line PC, complete with multiple monitors, high-end tech specs, and of course, Microsoft Word. Even though I can just use Pages in my browser through iCloud, I quickly realized that Apple’s wonderful design basically announces the fact that I’m doing something creative, and therefore not working.

Clearly Not Work
Corporate America Hates Pretty Colors

Enter: Microsoft Word. Its best feature is that it instantly gives the impression of actually working instead of just doodling around writing blogs to my lovely audience. High Five, Word!

Since Word had allowed me to slack off in one area, I soon turned to it for other, non-work related projects. I started to copy and paste articles I wanted to read into a Word doc and Bam! I was reading about whatever I wanted incognito. Such rebellion! I have discovered a convenient loophole in productivity with Word’s ambiguous, important looking interface.

Word also does something else that Pages doesn’t do for me. Whenever it recognizes a spelling mistake in one of my articles or in the ones I am reading, it will helpfully underline the word to let me know there’s something wrong.

I started to remember my days in the old Word, and like long forgotten words of a language once known I started to decode the meaning of the little squiggles. I was re-learning what it was like to take suggestions from the empty canvas I was writing onto. I had so much fun removing the abrasive squiggles that I would even do it for the articles I pasted in Word, though I knew my corrections meant nothing to anyone.

One day, whilst happily clacking away on my keyboard, it happened. A word, one that I understood and knew to be a real word, seemed to come down with a case of the red squiggle. Curious, I tried to see why the squiggle had occurred. I right-clicked.

No spelling suggestions.

What? This is a real word! I’ve used it, I’ve read it, and I know it must be so! I ran as fast as my cursor would allow to the Internet to prove my suspicions correct. Some quick typing and yes! Right at the top – the word was there, defined at, the definitive guide on all semantic arguments ever.

So… What was Word thinking? I went back to the article. Red squiggle persisted. I tried as hard as I could to ignore it. But I still felt this pressure… I had to get rid of that red line. I shook my head, took a deep breath, and deleted the word from the article.

After writing more and more, I started to notice that the red squiggle had spread to other words as well. Words I knew very well, some of them my best friends, all succumbed to the red squiggle. I continued to go to the Internet, but each time it felt more and more hopeless. Even if I could prove that the word was real, I knew that I could do little to stop it. Word, in its silent judgment, continued to belittle them. And I fell to the pressure of Word’s sagacious suggestions. I let the dreaded red squiggle compromise my dignity.

It seems as I have realized too late the implications of this epidemic. It may have already spread to others, and I failed to document it. Near the end, I started to take notes of all the words that had fallen victim to the plague.

In Memoriam

I thus submit a list of all the brave words that gave their lives to this horrible red scourge. They may be gone, but will not be forgotten. As long as my fingers can click clack, I will uphold this list in their memory. A Moment of Silence.

Now a few words:

Obfuscatory. Autonomically. Apophenia. Relocalization. Outed. Shales. Weaponize. Unrelatable.

It occurs to me that it wouldn’t take much for a company to buy the little red line. Then, whatever word the company doesn’t like would always be subject to the wrath of that little, red squiggle. Casting doubt into the mind of whoever is brave enough to type it.

Dear, Sweet God
Dear, Sweet God. It’s spreading.

If you like what you read, feel free to share. Basic Rules: Be civil. We are all people and deserve respect. That’s a hard and fast rule, by the way, it is not optional. Other than that, anything goes.

Interested in many things, but nothing captivates more than technology, entrepreneurship, futurism, and humanity's quest to problem-solve.

  • Dylan

    This reminds me a lot what I do at my internship! I always have more time than stuff to do, so I’ll always be goofing off, either doing something on a word doc like you, or I’ll keep my email open in a tab as I fart around on twitter or something. I do it because it gives me plausible deniability in case my boss walks in. The funny thing is though, I’ve actually never had to deny anything, plausible denial or no. No one actually cares what I’m doing there! I think I’ll still keep my email up when I’m not working, you know, because you never know.

    • yesacme

      I think there is something about the “plausible deniability” mentality you speak about. You may have just given me an idea for another blog! :D

  • Your writing style brings me joy, even when the content is distressing.

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