Monday, 9 March 2009

Lost in Translation - Part Deux

A discussion about a recipe for moist chocolate fudge cake has reminded me that it's not just my son who gets the words wrong - it's also spell check....

As you are probably aware (what with being able to use a computer and all that), spell check is a very helpful tool - but a rather blunt one.

A friend of mine learned this the hard way when she handed in her University Dissertation on child psychology. She had focused on the theories of Piaget (Piaget is a Swiss philosopher and natural scientist, well known for his work studying children, his theory of cognitive development and for his epistemological view called "genetic epistemology" - that is courtesy of Wikipedia - I hadn't got a freakin' clue).

Before handing it in she spell checked it and then (fatal error here) didn't give it a final proof read.

Spell check had turned every single 'Piaget' into a 'piglet'. And funnily enough, in a dissertation about Piaget there were a lot of Piagets......and it did change the nature of the work somewhat.

So her dissertation now contained statements like 'Piglet was not only a philosopher, his work with children is renowned across the globe.....' and 'whilst I agree with Piglet's findings in regard to cognitive development, I can not concur with all of his assumptions....'.

Fortunately her tutor took pity and handed it back to her recommending she 'take a second look' before signing it over (I think the fact that the title was on the front cover, in CAPS, saying something like 'A COMPARISON OF PIGLET'S METHODOLOGIES' might have given him an early warning.....

Oh how I laughed, but then I thought 'actually - I've been there myself with the misuse of Word Tools and in my case it was less a case of piglets and more a case of 'moist panties' (ohhh a statement like that could get all kinds of the wrong type of attention to this blog....).

It happened like this:

When I was at College doing my A levels we used to do our work on computers in the library.

This was always a veritable riot. The librarians were easy game and we took great delight in sending them to the edges of their sanity. Actually - that's not totally true. A couple of them were really cool and we respected them and they treated us like (almost) adults. But then there were a couple who took the TOTAL disciplinarian front - and it back fired. One used to go mad if anybody ate anything in the library - which everybody did because there was no where else to eat your snacks when it rained and teenagers can't go more than about 5 minutes without putting something in their mouth.

One day she caught me holding a whole kiwi fruit in my hand.

'WHAT is in your hand!?' she demanded'.

'Nothing!' I lied (blatanatly).

'SHOW me! AND I AM TELLING YOUR RIGHT NOW IF IT'S FOOD THEN YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE' she shouted (I had no idea that holding a kiwi fruit was so controversial, but there you are).

By this time all my friends were rolling around clutching their sides with mirth at my 'plight' so I took advantage of her distraction and shoved the whole kiwi into my mouth.

I held my empty hands up to her and smiled (albeit with a large hamster style cheek).

'WHERE IS IT?' she demanded.

'Mmmm' I shrugged.


Well by this time half the library were in hysterics and I wasn't far behind. As I simultaneously tried to swallow an entire kiwi fruit and breath and laugh - I choked. Quite spectacularly. And then threw up.... all over the library carpet.

There wasn't a lot she could do about that - the ethos at our college was one of us being responsible adults (ho hum) so you didn't get detention or lines or anything. I think if you did something really really bad, like take drugs in class, they would ask you to rethink your subject options, but really it was a bit of a free-for-all. I went to Step Aerobics instead of English Literature every Wednesday afternoon for a year and nobody seemed to think it was worth commenting on.

That librarian left shortly after that. Apparently the pupils had driven her to it.

Ironically enough she got a job at the local agricultural college - where the main activities (other than learning to drive a tractor and muck out sheds) appeared to be setting fire to things 'for a laugh', hotwiring quad bikes and shagging. I'm sure she had a oodles of fun...... Or maybe she did because nobody there actually used the library (or even knew where it was?). Perhaps she's still there, enjoying the peace and making sure that all the signs for the 'Learning Resource Centre' are well hidden?

Anyway - I digress - back to my moist panties.

So I was in the library and I'd just finished an essay for my Geography A level on the subject of the Moist TROPICS. I, somewhat foolishly, left it up on the screen and went outside for 'some fresh air' (read into that what you will). While I was gone, another student (Tannoy - if you are reading this it was Stuart) used the 'find and replace' function to 'find' every single example of 'Moist Tropics' in my essay and 'replace' it with 'Moist Panties'.

And I handed it in.

Oh how they laughed, and laughed, and laughed....

Quite bizarrely, after that my Geography teacher told me I was greatly gifted in the subject and must take it further.

And on that note, I'm off to spell check this - carefully.


  1. oooh your page is all different

  2. Yes I was struggling to see the old one... This one is a bit bolder so hopefully easier to read? Much as I loved the old 'ball' design it was time for a change....