Monday, August 27, 2007

Grown Men Crying

As I type these words, each one is underlined in red. Why each word is underlined in red I have no idea. How I can prevent each word from being underlined in red, I do not know. What I do know is that I am on the verge of a temper tantrum of epic proportions. And as always, my anger, rage, and fury are directed against myself. How can I be so incredibly, unbelievably stupid as not to know how to stop every word--except, significantly, for "I"--from being underlined in red?
I of course went to "View" and clicked on "Reveal Codes," which shows exactly what is being done in careful detail. But is there anything there… anything …to indicate that each word is being underlined in red? Well, of course there isn't.

I have rebooted my computer in the naive belief that when everything came back up, whatever is causing the underlinings would disappear.

Did it? (If your answer is "Yes," you must be even more naive than I am.)

What does it matter that each word is underlined in red…a marking, incidentally, which normally only appear to indicate a misspelled word. Perhaps every word I have typed has been misspelled. But checking my dictionary for the spelling of the word "to" I see that by all accounts, it is spelled correctly. But I digress (oh, now there's a news flash!). So if the words are not misspelled…and I am suddenly comforted by the idea that if I do misspell a word, I will have no way of knowing, since they're ALL underlined in red.…what is the problem? What did I do to create the problem?

Countless times, I have somehow (I never, ever know how) struck a wrong key and all hell has broken loose, and I assume this is one of those instances. I know I did something wrong. I know that the solution is so astoundingly simple that, should I ever find it, I will feel like even more of an idiot than I already feel.

Utter frustration results in tears of utter rage and utter confusion and utter…what's the word I'm looking for? Ah, yes…frustration. I feel my chest filling up with them, but of course I cannot actually let them out, much as I might want to. Real men don't cry. No, they don't! That's what adults hammer into male children from the minute they are old enough to understand what is being said to them. And would grown-ups lie to a child? So I do not cry. Instead, my chest becomes a pressure cooker with the rage turning the tears to steam and the little indicator moving steadily further into the red zone until I at times fear for what might happen if I cannot control it.

And every word I have typed is underlined in red.

I just went back to "View" and "Reveal Codes" thinking that just because it didn't help last time, it might help this time. I noted a little icon called "Graphics" had a check mark in front of it. I clicked it to remove it, sure that I had solved the problem. I had not.

I am a writer. I write books. Each book has tens of thousands of words and I must resign myself to the fact that from this moment on, every single one of those tens of thousands of words will be underlined in red, and I will never be able to know when I have actually misspelled a word, and my ears will ring with the sound of the computer gods' laughter.

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