In search of story

April 12.19



Oh, you of little ink,

preposterous to think

you’d grow to such a plague,

pestilence and nag.

Everywhere and more

you’re a digital uproar;

documents are shredded

because you’re name-imbedded;

computers gag and sputter,

bureaucracies sweat and mutter,

printers flail and spit —

you just don’t seem to fit.

With all this ID ballyhoo,

I’m boiled in an impossible stew:

oh, my little apostrophe,

how to prove that I am me?


If, dear reader, you have an apostrophe in your name, you know the terrors. Some computers will take it; others won’t. Sometimes it’s changed to a comma, sometimes to a period, sometimes just tossed out. Then upper case becomes lower case (e.g., O’Hern becomes Ohern or O. Hern or O,hern). Lo, your last name as documented today does not match your last name on your birth certificate. Ponderously important people behind laptops are going to look at you with suspicion. They will ask you who you REALLY are. By that time the computers will have undone you and you will have no idea.


4 thoughts on “April 12.19

  1. Oh, I do understand those computers that think they know all. Our last name is two words, separated by a space, with both words starting with a capital letter. Well, it is, but it isn’t when they think it shouldn’t be. πŸ™‚ My husband’s home town was Gorham. When I write to his family and type Gorham, it becomes Gotham. It usually takes me three tries to get it back to Gorham. I always think to myself – I think I’d remember if it had been Gotham. πŸ™‚ I’m of the age when I learned to spell, and I can type well, but I have learned I have to reread everything because of the computer changes. They should provide a button to turn off if you’d prefer not to have their ‘help.’ πŸ™‚

    • Yes, that’s it exactly: it’s complete goofiness. The machines are supposed to know so much better than we do what our names are (or what city we’re writing to), and that is, at the very least, a bad premise on which to build communication. At the rate computers are toying with us, it won’t be long before we really don’t know what our names are!

  2. Gosh, that must be difficult to navigate. Having said that, I quite like O,hern. It rhas something of the other type of apostrophe.

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