The original fish

The earliest memory I have of my integrity being called into question was when I was twelve. Our headmaster took one class a week called “Creative Writing”. I do believe this lesson was supposed to teach us to use our imagination at the very stage when most of us stand on the painful cusp of reluctantly relinquishing childish fantasy and embarking on a journey toward adult life in which we were all encouraged to be productive members of our community.The exercise for the week was to write a short paragraph with the title Water. I described a river containing a floating, smelly dead fish, and old tyre and a few aluminium cans and the biggest new word that had recently entered by vocabulary: pollution. The headmaster’s comment was, “Is this your own work?” My indignation that it would be anything other than my own idea was only surpassed by his residual incredulity even after I explained that I had actually seen a dead fish floating on the water after the local dam spilled the year before. I had also seen the other items mentioned. Did it matter that I put them in the same river even though I had seen them in different places? I asked this with the innocence appropriate to my age. Why so incredulous, then? Possibly because he had received twenty-odd other assignments about pure cool babbling brooks, and such. Only mine had a smelly dead fish in it. If I had learned how to swear by then, I am sure I would have done so.

This memory was prompted by the news of a recent development in Blogger. Google Scribe has been integrated into the “compose posts” function. A powerful version of predictive text that is one of the reasons I do not ever send SMS from my cellphone, even if this function is turned off.

Techno-eejit that I am, I cannot see the Scribe function – which I am assured is represented by an icon of a little pencil somewhere on my screen. Yon Scribe is also capable of giving you multiple suggestions as you type. Nausea rises and falls in a never ending flux. Whilst I can see that it would be helpful if one is truly lost for words I cannot help feeling that should I use it, I would be stealing words from someone else which have been collectively gobbled by arguably the largest search engine on the web only to be spat out in semi-intelligent mechanical and platitudinous fashion.

I am not taking the moral high ground on this issue. We are none of us as original as we might imagine ourselves to be. Rest assured though that whatever is written here has come directly from my own neurons firing away, whilst I wonder whether I can turn off the auto-correct function which insists I write using US spelling.

These are my own words – for now. One day you might find them populating Google Scribe.

Allison

The word in bold appeared in the previous post.

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