Thursday, September 13, 2012

just breath

a few years ago, i was invited into a new friend's house to see some decorating she had done. we had not spent much time together and i did not know her well but i went through her rooms willingly and complimented her on all she had done to make her home a more personal space for herself. in one of the rooms, she had attempted to create a "zen" atmosphere with calm colors and a soothing ambiance. on the wall in large, dark letters was the word, "breath." i stared at it for a while and then i couldn't help myself. "what does that spell?" i asked. she looked at me like i was the most stupid person on the planet and told me, "breathe." you could hear the "duh" in her exasperated response. knowing that my reply to her frustrated response would be less than polite, i smiled, bit my tongue, and just said, "oh, okay," and moved on. she rolled her eyes at my stupidity and we moved to another room.

as time has gone by, i've become more and more aware that we are a nation of some of the worst spellers on the planet. when i was in high school, our ongoing complaint in English class was that we would never need the vast majority of the vocabulary words we were learning to spell and define. back then, when the internet was just taking off and social media was not in existence, teachers had to scramble to come up with a worthwhile defense of the necessity of learning words like "cotillion." then, very few would see your written words. today, the exact opposite is the case. our collective poor spelling is on display for the world to see and, frankly, it's a little embarrassing.

there are websites dedicated to mocking poor spelling on public signs. there are really too many to count. take this example recently found in charlotte welcoming people to the "democatic" national convention.

i'm embarrassed for them. in new york, they painted the following on the street for school crossing. so, so sad. 

teachers of high school students today can defend the necessity of their work simply by saying, "you don't want to look like a moron on facebook; do you?"

add that with to the horrors of some of the "autocorrect" words punched in with our smart phones and we are in serious trouble. the sites dedicated to this are absolutely hilarious. check out for a good laugh. i could sit on that site for hours...just for a little pick me up.

besides just poor spelling, we also seem to have forgotten how to punctuate. granted, i'm writing on a site that doesn't use capital letters. still, i can appreciate a correctly placed comma and period as much as the next gal. "let's eat grandma." "let's eat, grandma." punctuation saves lives, people!

i am just as culpable as others. somehow we've become too busy to proofread anymore. maybe we should all just slow down a little bit and read through what we are about to post...whether in sign form, post form or tweet. maybe we could stop hitting ourselves over the head once we go back and read what we have just sent out into the universe. let's all take a minute to slow down. just breath, people, just breath.