Never having been the best of spellers, he left a copy of the article he wrote on the desk for fellow members of the editorial staff of the student publication to proofread before the material was whisked off to press. he didn’t know that they didn’t show, so, it was off to the printer spelling errors in tow.
The printed issue was distributed with his spelling errors and he was stopped cold in the hall by one of the professors and a former, much admired pastor of his. The professor read the riot act to him about the misspellings, and one word in particular – the word “unequivocally.” The professor berated him in front of passing students, faculty and God Almighty, “Where is the vocal in unequivocally?” he demanded.
In his hurry, perhaps he had utilized a phony version of phonetics. He had sounded out the word and spelled it as it sounded to his ear: unequivically — vic not voc. One little letter, an “i” instead of an “o” and “Oh, my” there was hell to pay in those hallowed halls. He knew the meaning of the word but not the etymology and therefore not the spelling.
He has never forgotten that humiliating experience or the man who had been his beloved pastor when he was a teenager and then the man who stood before him with feet of clay that day. But, oh, boy, did he learn his lesson.
And for that, he remains in the professor’s debt. He put the “fear of God” in him, so to speak. He doesn’t believe in that kind of “god,” the kind the long since deceased professor and former pastor reflected in that moment but the confrontation served its purpose.
He shutters to think of writing anything with a misspelling in it and so a long-delayed “Thank you, pastor/professor, wherever you are and thank you, Spell Check,” and even then some pesky words sneak threw.
“Maybe,” he said, “I should use Spell Check Plus.”