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Friday, May 24, 2024

Before You Go: ‘Autocorrecting Life’

CRL columnist John Gray does some technical translating.

Recently, a friend of mine who is struggling with her weight wrote something on Facebook about how fat she was feeling. Wanting to cheer her up, I grabbed my fancy phone, a Droid, and sent her a private message, “Stop talking that way. You know you’re a hottie.” Unfortunately, the word “hottie” doesn’t exist in the modern dictionary, so my smartphone (trying to help me out) used something known as AUTOCORRECT to change the word into what it thought I meant to say, “Stop talking that way. You know you’re a hogtie.” Just what someone wants to hear when they are self-conscience about their weight, someone calling them a hog. By the time I realized my error, she had already had an emotional meltdown, fallen off her diet and eaten a whole box of Girl Scout cookies. All because of technology.

Since that day I have kept close watch on my phone to make sure it doesn’t try to change my messages. This autocorrect feature does have me thinking, though. Wouldn’t it be great if life itself came with an autocorrect button that could tell you what the opposite sex (or people in general) are really saying when they speak to you? As someone who has been married, I can tell you it would spare you and your partner a lot of time, trouble and perhaps a humongous fight. So here are a few of life’s little “autocorrects” that I’ve picked up along the way.

When she says, “Is the game on?” What she really means is, “Are you going to get off the couch today or will this be another Sunday with you laying in front of the TV yelling at someone called ‘A-Rod’ while I do all the chores?”

“Our neighbor’s yard looks so nice,” means, “Our lawn looks like crap, the weeds need pulling and did you notice Roger across the street bought his wife a beautiful new bracelet?” (Don’t ask me how your neighbor buying his wife jewelry got involved in this conversation but trust me, it did.)

“Do you want to go to the mall with me?” means “I need you to come to Colonie Center and follow me around like a rented pack mule so as I shop for things I don’t need, I can hand you the bags like my spineless man servant. Oh, and while we’re there you can buy me a bracelet. Love you.” See? Told ya.

“Do I look fat in this dress?” means “Do you want to sleep on the couch, eat cold ravioli from the can and never, ever get hoochie coochie again? Now lie to me!”

“I believe my child had that toy first,” means “Possession may be nine-tenths of the law sister, and yes, technically your little brat had it first, but my precious Amber was thinking of playing with that toy days ago, and let’s be honest, my daughter is a Princess and in this kingdom the Princess rules.”

“Do you think my friend Jennifer is pretty?” means “I think I caught you looking at her as she stirred the lemonade and if you so much as hint to me that you think she’s cute you will never see that woman at another barbeque again and I’m going to squeeze lemon juice in your eyes.”

“I’m just going to look at shoes,” means “I’m going to buy those shoes.”

“I don’t even care about marriage. No pressure baby,” means “If you think this cow is giving away the milk for free forever, you’d better sell the farm or become lactose intolerant.” I’m not even sure what that means, but she said it.

“When we’re married it will be OUR money honey,” means “My paycheck is mine and your paycheck is, well, mine. Love you.”

If her mother says, “I ran into your old boyfriend Dirk at the grocery store today. He looks great,” means “That is the boy you should have married and it kills me that you chose that farting-lounge-chair-of-a-husband over a dreamy, rich, superhero like Dirk. He’s probably working on a cure for Cancer while the Mayor of Loserville over there is working on his third meatball sub.”

Ladies, if he says, “When the waitress comes, have her wrap it up so that you can pick at it later hon,” means “Bring that home so after you fall asleep I can put on Sportscenter and eat it.”

“Is your mom coming?” means “I can’t stand the way your mother glares at me and continually talks about this Dirk. And if she IS on the way, I’m going to make up an excuse to go to Home Depot where I will hide out until October if necessary.”

“Question, hon, is our child playing every song at the school concert tonight?” means “I’d rather be held hostage by Somali pirates with a rusty machete to my throat than sit through two hours of kids who couldn’t hold a note if they had crazy glue on their hands. Can we pull the fire alarm and make a run for it?”

“Look at our son hit that ball!” means “I could have been Derek Jeter. I mean, just look at the incredible athlete the fruits of my loins has produced. In fact, I’d probably be playing for the Yankees right now if I hadn’t married you.”

“I’m telling you, this is not a bachelor party. It’s just a bunch of guys hanging out for a couple hours and there’s definitely not going to be strippers,” means “Oh, you bet your backside this is a bachelor party. Have you seen ‘The Hangover’? Well, multiply that by 40, baby! Strippers, liquor, by the time this night is over one of us will end up stealing a tiger. It’s gonna be awesome!”

“I’ll fix that in an hour,” means “I’ll fix that tomorrow.”

“I’ll fix that tomorrow,” means “I think the broken toilet seat and loose railing give the house folksy charm.”

If his mother says, “This dinner is really something and the stuffing…interesting,” means “I’m a better cook than you.”

And here are some quick ones that are gender neutral:

“I’m working out for you babe.” Watch him/her.

“I know I said I’d call, but it got late and I didn’t want to wake you.” Really watch him/her.

“Date? No way. I ran into my ex by accident and we were both hungry so we just sat for a second. Totally innocent.” Hire a private investigator.

“Are you sure this isn’t your earring?” Hire a lawyer.

“I’ll bet the dog jumped up and ate those cookies.” He did it.

“Honey, while I was shopping for groceries I think someone hit the car.” She did it.

“Was this lamp always broken?” The kids did it.

“Hey, Suzie got a promotion. That’s a surprise.” Suzie is dating the boss.

“Hey, Suzie lost our biggest account and didn’t get fired.” Suzie has pictures of the boss.

“Hey, Suzie got a new Lexus.” Suzie is about to be the boss.

“Hey, is that Tony Danza?” Who’s The Boss?

This has been fun. Until next time, beware the autocorrect and when in doubt, think like John Mayer and say what you mean to say.


John Gray
John Gray
John Gray is an Emmy-winning journalist and writer. In addition to his 32 years of television experience, John is the author of three children's books and two novels. He is married with three children. He and his lovely wife Courtney have five dogs, three of them are rescues with special needs. They make their quiet home in Rensselaer County.

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