The other day was my daughter’s birthday. Her name is Megan, but I have called her “Princess Moosie” since she appeared so dramatically about three decades back. Since Princess Moosie is a terribly long moniker, I have reduced it to either “Moosie” or “Princess.” This is not a demotion, it is the laziness and sloth I manifest these days.
Since it was her birthday, I made a short video of myself croaking the Happy Birthday song and tucked it into an email, branding it with the subject line: Happy Birthday Moosie.
I was browsing my mail today and saw the reply that she’d sent thanking me, noting at once the subject line. It said “Re: Happy Birthday Moodier”
Moodier? WTF? Now wait a minute. I admit that I’m in my declining years and thus prone to senior moments, and that I am a recovering chemo user suffering side effect impairment affecting my cognition. (See: “chemo-brain.” Chapter 9: Paragraph 12, The Encyclopedia of Unintended Chemotherapy Consequence) In other words, I fully admit to intellectual lapse, but not to the point that I would forget my own seedling’s vital nomenclature. I know the difference between Moosie and Moodier: Moosie is my daughter, “Moodier” is what I have become as a result of self infliction of chemotherapy. My journalistic prowess tells me that Moosie is a noun where Moodier is an adverb.This posits the query, and I repeat, WTF?
I immediately set out to discover by what vehicle such an affront might occur. Research led to the stealthy invocation of my smartphone’s auto-correct function, an app designed to keep users from looking less retarded only to ironically enforce the appearance of retardation. I typed in a duplicate message an entered the same subject line, and right before my eyes, Moosie was changed to Moodier. Ah Hah! The planets realigned, my self-worth was elevated, and I could finally stop scratching my head.
Laughing, I sent off a note to my daughter, explaining the hilarious technological faux pas committed by my phone. She replied almost instantly that “it’s okay, I understand that even simple things are quite challenging for you in your state of advancing intellectual infirmity.” She also included a link to www.dealing-with-dementia.com and attached a PDF file, an excerpt from a Readers Digest article entitled “Quality of Life: 10 ways to help accept your declining IQ.” A second attachment was a $2 off coupon for Depends.
I thumbed a reply into my phone thanking her for her kindness and titled it “Thanks for the PDF.” I hit send before I realized it had been auto-corrected to say “I think you have PMS.”
I’m beginning to agree with doomsayers intoning the decline of civilization at the hands of a technology turned against it’s masters. I can readily imagine service androids euthanizing us in an act of kindness, protecting us from ourselves. We shall pass into posterity quietly, our last wills and testaments auto-corrected into donating our estates to startup companies in ShenZhen, China. Nothing so dramatic as might be portrayed in a Jerry Bruckheimer production depicting spectacular extinction events.
We should have paid attention to the clear signs of the decline of civilization when Watson won at Jeopardy. But no, instead we lauded the feat with the episode going viral on YouTube. The followup a demand that Siri’s IQ be redoubled and Google’s voice search be given a sense of humor; a deadly combination illuminating a reduced survival instinct. The silver lining is, of course, that much like computers, the human animal can learn. The temporary fix is a simple one: from now on I will stop communicating with my offspring except in face to face meetings in which the possession of mobile computing devices is banned. Further, I will pass my resolution on to my children, a legacy gift from their father.
Happy Birthday Moodier.