The Tyrrany of the Alphabet


When my nephew was much younger (around 4 or 5) he used to love to play on my laptop when I came home for Christmas.  However, since I really didn’t have any games for preschoolers on my laptop, and my parents live in 1974, where there is no Internet, our options were limited.

My solution to this was to play spelling games with him.  And by “play spelling games” I mean open Microsoft Word and let him type.  The game had the following rules:

Round 1) I pick a word (“cat”), and he has to type it in by finding the letters C-A-T on the keyboard.

Round 2) I spell a word (“H-O-U-S-E”) and he types it in and tells me what word it is.

The game lasts until he gets bored, or until I think of an escape plan because I’m bored.

One night after dinner we were playing, and he decided to up his game (so to speak) and enter Round 3, where he would spell out a word on the keyboard, and I would tell him what it spelled.  Round 3 went something like this:

Him (while typing): What does ZRBRT spell?

Me: Zerbert.

Him (laughing): What does KFLMMM spell?

Me: Kiflummm.

Him (not laughing): What does K-R-2-?-M-2-Q-W spell?

Me: That doesn’t spell anything.

Him (slightly perturbed): What does JP4I3NG[INA spell?

Me: Nothing.  You’re just hitting the keys.

He turns and looks at me, and in that tone of righteous indignation I always associate with Christopher, demands to know:

“How come when you spell things it’s always a word, and when I spell it never is?”

The day I can answer that question, I will have achieved true enlightenment

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