Before Sending Phone Texts Edit Mortifying Typos and Autocorrects
Her Smart Phone
I Give My Wife a Smart Phone
I bought my wife a smart phone for Christmas to replace her behind-the-times cell phone (which was much more modern than mine). Yesterday she learned again a lesson she has already learned using her work smart phone—proofread text messages before sending them. She has told humorous stories of a coworker or herself typing or dictating a certain word or phrase and having a different word or phrase—which may be incongruous and ridiculous in context, even vulgar—show in the message instead, when the automatically complete words as you type feature or the type for you as you dictate feature has made a wrong guess. I know how silly and weird such errors by "smart" computer software can be from my use on my laptop computer at home of the Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition program.
Sometimes a smart phone text message error caused by the voice to text feature or the autocorrect feature guessing wrong can have serious consequences. Reputedly, such errors when not noticed and corrected before a text message was sent have caused companies embarrassment and loss of business and have gotten even salaried management-level employees fired.
Have you ever sent a phone text message that said something you did not intend and was:
A Strange Message
An error in a phone text message my wife sent me yesterday did not have any untoward consequences, but it was strange. The message that she dictated to her smart phone was: "Dad fell and we are going to take him to ER to have x-rays". The message that her smart phone "heard" and typed for her and that I received—while at home washing dishes, aware that my wife had planned to work till early afternoon, run an errand, and then visit her parents (whose house is about a mile from our apartment) for a bit before coming home—was, "Dad died and we are going to take him to ER to have X 28".
Not a Big Surprise
My father-in-law is 91 years old. He had a mild stroke a few years ago. He has been showing increasing symptoms of dementia. For instance, I have observed him at a meal hold up a napkin and ask to be reminded what it is. His adult grandchildren, and I, look familiar to him, but he does not retain the memory of how we are related to him. He might get up, dressed, shaved, and ready to go at 3:00 AM for an 8:30 AM coffee or hot chocolate date with his buddies. His thinking, speech, and motions are much slower than they were just a few years ago. His heartbeat tends to be irregular. Sudden death can happen to anyone, but for someone his age with his health, sudden death would be unexpected but not a big surprise. And I reacted to my wife's message as unexpected but not surprising news.
What was surprising and perplexing was that my mother-in-law and my wife were taking my "dead" father-in-law to the Emergency Room of the nearest hospital. That seemed unusual procedure, but what do I know? Nor did I know what an X 28 is. Some red-tape form?
I texted back, "I will take the bus" [to the hospital to be with them in this time of shock, grief, and necessary procedures], and my wife texted me back, "Thanks."
As I put on my coat, hat, and gloves, locked our apartment door, and walked the three blocks to a bus stop, I thought of the questions that (I thought) had become moot—Is it time yet for my mother-in-law to take his car keys away from my father-in-law? How would he react to adult day care? How long before his macular degeneration would become a problem? Should they move to a place easier to care for than a house? And so on. Other questions had, it seemed, suddenly become immediate instead of in the hypothetical someday future, like, what would life be like for my mother-in-law as a widow? Would she want to use her increased leisure time to do even more bridge playing? Would she want to move to an apartment or condominium?
Don't Believe Everything You Read
I was waiting for a city bus and pondering such thoughts when an approaching car blinked its lights at me and pulled into the nearby Chinese restaurant parking lot. My wife was driving my mother-in-law's car; my father-in-law was in the front passenger seat (I approached from the back of the car and did not see his face), and my mother-in-law was in the driver-side back seat. I got in the car beside her. She and my wife greeted me cheerfully. I wondered if my father-in-law were alive or dead. From behind he looked so natural and normal sitting there. How had the two women, one 60 and the other 89, carried and maneuvered the dead weight of the body to and into the car? Then my mother-in-law asked my father-in-law a question about pain, and he answered her, and I knew he was not dead after all.