New friends with auto-correct

Laura K. Silver

By Laura K. Silver

As a general rule, I like the technology that is out there. I once lived in a world where my information came from the 1968 World Book Encyclopedias. The smell of the pages alone will be forever stuck in my mind — and not in a good way.

I like having the world at my fingertips, but I often wonder if we are losing something in the process. It used to be that dinner conversation would sometimes turn into collaboration as you argued over a fact or tried to recall where you saw an actor in another series. You might get to dessert before you could come up with a name.

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Now, people pull out their iPhones mid-meal and give you the answer to any question you have. Sure, you now have the answer, but wasn’t there something fun about wracking your brain for an answer?

My kids will never know that gnawing, plaguing feeling of not being able to come up with something and the the accompanying incredible sense of relief and accomplishment when someone thinks of the answer. They will have the answers, but they won’t get to use their brains.

Another pet peeve are the problems I’m having with auto-correct.

It’s designed to help me, but sometimes it just creates a headache. I have a lot of friends named Jennifer — I lived with four at the same time in college (but that’s another story). These friends are Jen, not Ken. Ken, however, has taken over my calendar. I have birthdays for Ken, notes to call Ken, plans to travel to see Ken. I don’t know who Ken is, but he better put Jen on the phone when I call.

Finally, I really don’t like my phone asking if I meant “it dies” instead of “it does” every time I try to type. The only thing that routinely dies is my iPhone. Perhaps it’s dropping hints?

I don’t really want to go back to life before these devices, but I hope they improve. My friend once dropped the “A” encyclopedia on her foot and broke her toe. Luckily, I now get to spend the rest of the day trying to remember which friend that was.

I’m positive it wasn’t Ken.