L. Neil Smith's
Number 198, November 11, 2002


Confessions Of A Techno-dependent Writer
by Patrick K Martin

Exclusive to TLE

A 'T', I don't believe this, A Godforsaken friggin' 'T'. Here I sit, hunched over a hot monitor, straining every neuron, focusing every insight, directing every fiber of my existence toward the goal of producing one of the finest essays I am capable of writing, and what is the result? A friggin' T! There it was, you saw it, right in the middle of the last paragraph of my article "Why I will not Vote!" It practically leapt off the screen at me, A bloody T. It was supposed to be an "I", but you probably figured that out. I am thoroughly disgusted. I use the spell checker, I use the grammar checker, I read the damned article, and I end up with a T. Someday's it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

I would like to formally blame every English teacher I ever had. Yes, that's right, you know who you are, you remember me. I was the dopy looking kid with the flattop, sitting in the back of the class chewing the covers off the textbook. I was the one in the puddle of sleep-drool you had to shake awake at the end of class. You know me, oh evil ones! I was the kid you robbed by sitting at your desk and failing to educate me! No, don't tell me I should have paid attention. How dare you try to shirk the responsibility for your dereliction. It's all your fault for not beating me over the head with an English primer until the knowledge seeped in by osmosis.

How could I be responsible for this travesty? How could anyone seek to blame me for this monumental failure of the public educational system? Not to mention the parochial schools of the Detroit Archdiocese. I showed up didn't I? I sat in class everyday being lulled to sleep by your endless droning. "I before E, except after ..." something or other. "Never end a sentence with a proposition." "Is there something you want to share with the rest of the class, Mr. Martin?" Shame, shame on you.

I cannot lay all of the blame on you however, Bill Gates must take his share as well! How dare you make billions selling your defective products sir? You are responsible for much of my hideous embarrassment in the pages of this e-zine. It was your software that refused to correct my most basic errors. How dare you publish a writing program that does not recognize that one trillion is a 1,000,000 million, and not 1000 million? Or that wether is a castrated male sheep and that the word I wanted was whether. Who the hell would want to refer to a castrated sheep anyway? What kind of perverts do you have working for you, to include that word in the spell checker? How dare you sell me a product that would cause me to believe that I could be a writer. What kind of Demonic impulse would cause you to sell this instrument of social ignominy? You should be forced to pay me an inordinate amount of money for your failure to warn me that this product would not make up for the failure of my teachers, and I intend to find a shyster ... I mean a lawyer, who will do just that!

Of course other actors have been involved in this tragedy as well. The government, for not paying teachers enough money to motivate them. My parents, for not showing me enough love to overcome my resistance to being educated. Society, for not ... Well, I don't know what society didn't do, but they always fail to do something, or they do something, or ... whatever. John Taylor, in his selfish refusal to stop living his own life in order to ensure that I won't be embarrassed, must shoulder part of this burden as well. Lastly, L. Neil Smith, for starting this whole thing ... wait a minute, he might not let me write anymore ... scratch that, Mr. Smith didn't do anything, he is completely blameless, no doubt a hapless victim like myself!

You see. It's a vast conspiracy! No doubt the action of some cabal of the pinko-Jewish-banker-commie-Masons and their ilk (I really hate Ilk). Well, I just hope you can now understand that this whole, I don't know English thing, is in no way my fault, and that whenever you see an error crop up in my work you will put the blame squarely where it belongs, somewhere else.

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