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Haiku in the Workplace: Auto-Correct (or Spelchek)

This is an issue which has affected me personally — type my name into a word doc and see what it recommends as an alternative (see below if you’re too lazy to try this yourself). Such a mechanical slip might easily have altered the vectors of my life, compromised my career, and impinged on my freedom, all thanks to the zeal of Microsoft et al. to ease my responsibility to spell my own name correctly. Vorsprung durch technik indeed.

Now that I am in recovery I am amused by it all, and pleased that others are finding similar enjoyment. For instance, I stole that last phrase from Audi and from the following poem:

A life now spent 
correcting auto correct —
Vorsprung durch technik
	[Noble Francis]

Yes, such is our time that a name or a process outside of the commonplace now must be managed: with a life given over to correcting the corrections. Such time lost, such energy wasted. The only sane response is . . . humor. And there are two chief strategies to arriving at this humor — we can revel in the absurdities foisted upon us, as in my third choice:

winter departs —
last year’s errors 
snopaked out
	[David Dayson]
I love the verb “to snopake,” — so much unexplored potential — and plan to make it part of my general vocabulary. The other chief strategy is to create the absurdity for ourselves, as in my second choice for this week:
TV subtitles —
political con men taters
tell it how it is
	[David Dayson]

There is certain satisfaction to making up one’s own algorithm, to overlaying a skewed sense of logic onto something that clamors to express its own. While this particular deconstruction seems unlikely to me, even by Microsoft’s standards, there was good sport at its making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.

But lucky are they who can rise above others’ foibles, who can extract meaning from the seeming randomness and noise. My top choice this week converts the quirks of serendipity to a stentorian imperative:

to triumph
autocorrect tells me —
try oomph
	[David Dayson]

Norman Vincent Peale would be proud.

Now I must get utterly snopaked — “Kacian” suggests, to our algorithm overlords, “cocaine.” Until next week . . .

New Poems

amartophobia —
how obsessively I check 
each word 
     — Maria Laura Valente
mangled; my English . . .
the Cupertino effect
the Cupertino effect
     — Ernesto P. Santiago
making out
I’m someone I’m not
spell check
      — Rachel Sutcliffe
Dear John
the typos no one 
accounted for
     — Michael Henry Lee
dust bowl
in vain i seek the vineyard
where the gripes of wrath are stored
     — Jennifer Hambrick
I meant
superb not subpar
dame autocorrect
     — Christina Sng
she reminds him of her name
     — Andy McLellan
grammar nazi
I become my own
     — Shloka Shankar
boss’s minutes
my surname spelt 
as “Ceremony”
     — Samantha Sirimanne Hyde
rough draft . . .
one misspelled word
too many
     — Willie Bongcaron
message online —
my reply is
     — Angela Giordano
breaking the spell . . .
he calls his new girlfriend 
by his ex’s name
     — Olivier Schopfer
luckily the punchline
didn’t make sense
after auto-correct
     — Mark Gilbert
unforgivable mistake
dismissal of the Director
on national television
     — Eufemia Griffo
autocorrect —
too many the errors
I can’t erase
     — Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo Domburg
work email
my gender
     — Roberta Beary
submission . . .
my tale rejected 
too many typos
     — Elisa Allo
Spelchek checks
Czech check
     — Paul Geiger
auto correct 
not what I had in mind
still it persists . . .
     — Madhuri Pillai
“Thanks” to T9
Mary’s “FIGLIO”
becomes her “FOGLIO”
grazie al T9
i miei auguri al “figlio” di Mary
diventano al “foglio”
     — Lucia Cardillo
Important document —
The last name of the Boss
has blossomed . . .
     — Nazarena Rampini
divorce papers
installing a free
     — Cezar Ciobika
my software
is mad
     — Antonio Mangiameli
from past and future
to present tense
     — Michael Stinson
I'll have you know I mean
every auto-corrected word
I say
     — Lee Nash
I’ll find
my own spelling errors thanks . . .
     — Karen Harvey
Echo in November 
I have the same paperwork
in March
     — Benedetta Cardone
honing my writing skills 
my first-grade teacher
     — Devin Harrison

Next Week’s Theme: The Team Meeting

Send your poem using “workplace haiku” as the subject by Sunday midnight to our Contact Form. Good luck!

kacian_jimFrom October 2014 through April 2016 Haiku Foundation president Jim Kacian offered a column on haiku for the London Financial Times centered on the theme of work. Each week we share these columns with the haiku community at large, along with an invitation to join in the fun. Submit a poem by Sunday midnight on the theme of the week, from the classical Japanese tradition, or contemporary practice, or perhaps one of your own, which you might even write for the occasion. The best of these will be appended to the column. First published 13 February 2015.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. What fun. Some beauties! Haven’t had time to respond each week, but here’s a little snippet of news re Spellcheck.

    Did you know the inventor of auto-correct died this week? His funnily have announced his festival will be holed next Sinday. ?

  2. .
    I just have one typo haiku, although on a couple of occasions I have made my own spelling errors, very rare though.
    Jim’s family name Kacian is regularly corrected to Dacian, which is fine if I was researching into the history of the Roman Empire, but I wasn’t:
    this delicate rain
the petal makes a typo
of a gravestone date

    Alan Summers
    tinywords, haiku & other small poems (July 2011)

      1. Thank you Ellen! :-)
        It’s an actual incident. I used to frequent the Bradford on Avon cemetery due to its flora. There was a date that made no logical sense whatsoever. I remembered walking around and around the grounds trying to work out how the dates were possible.
        I think about the sixth visit to the gravestone in an hour everything made sense. Just one single small petal changed history during the transience of itself and the occupant.
        warm regards,

        1. one not so
          insignificant petal
          time travel

          That ones for you Alan…

          And everyone else. I love this week’s offerings. A few embarrassing moments but lots of laughs.

          Thank you Jim for setting the prompt and selecting the poems.

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