Hooked on Phonics?



I’d just finished my website newsletter, the backstory behind the prophetic future pill in Spirit Dance, (click here and sign up to get the story) and was motoring around the kitchen island stretching my legs–waka, waka–happy as a hungry Pac Man pill. Midway through my second lap, my phone pinged. A text message from my mother.

Text bubble: “Started reading the future pill story and noticed idyllic is misspelled.”

I froze, a defeated spiraling–ghost munches pac-pill–tune rang in my head.

Crap. Even after spending the better part of the morning editing and listening to Hank, my digital computer reader, I still made a typo. My shoulders sagged.

Ping. Text bubble. Mom again. “I told her.”

“Told who” I keyed.

“Mrs. Goocher?”

… “My third grade teacher, Mrs. Goocher?”

Does it amaze anyone else how mom’s remember the tinniest details? From forty-three years ago?

Mom typed: “That phonics stuff was crap. I told her to ditch the program and go back to Webster’s approach.”

I bet I know how that went over. 

Mom messaged again before I could respond.. “Goocher looked at me like I had two heads.”

Only two? Must have hid the third behind a bouffant updo.

“I heard that, and no…” Mom fired.

Great. AND she can still read my mind. Long distance over the cellular network. 

“I didn’t rat my hair up back then,” Mom’s bubble defended. “Wasn’t the style in the seventies.” Clenching teeth emoticon. “She should of listened to me. I wrote for a living. I was a journalist.”

Three dots lit my phone screen. A millisecond later, another thought bubble appeared.

“You’d bring home “A” papers with tons of spelling errors. What the heck? I asked Goocher and she said the curriculum emphasized content not spelling.”

So much for the technical manual defense.

“Bull crap,” Mom wrote.

At the time I’m guessing she used a more colorful adjective. Back then, my mother preferred a mixed media approach to confrontations. A variety of hand gestures, intertwined with any number of explicits.

“I’m just saying.” Popped up onscreen.

To my newsletter recipients and readers, please forgive me. Rest assured, I own a slew of dictionaries and I’m committed to getting better. With that said, chances are good I’ll likely do another bellyflop or two. Feel free to bring them to my attention.

Thanks to all of you who pay attention.

E L Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers/Risk

“Idyllic.” Idilic no more.

aka The Glamorous Wife

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