“Damn You, Autocorrect” begins with the most popular image on Jillian Madison’s damnyouautocorrect.com: A dad texting his daughter that “Your mom and I are going to divorce next month,” his phone’s Autocorrect function having changed Disney to divorce. The sending of messages containing unintended (auto)corrections is an endemic problem among those who text (if the popularity of the author’s Web site is any indication).
For those who remain unaware, “Autocorrect is a software function—found on many smartphones and portable Web-ready devices—that attempts to correct common typos on the fly by guessing the word you were really trying to write,” explains the author. But as Madison notes, the function is far from perfect. It sometimes inserts inappropriate words “that can make you look like an idiot, a creep, or (gasp!) a total pervert.”
Using examples from the book to illustrate the problem: One unnamed mom meant to communicate that she got into a fight with a co-worker because he wouldn’t give her a pen. Except her message indicated that she “needed a penis and he wouldn’t let me borrow one.” Another mom messaged her daughter that dad was out “getting a sex change” (as opposed to an oil change), and in an hour no less. And one perplexed female received a message that she was the first girl her boyfriend “had ever thought about the Führer [future] with.”
It’s ironic that Autocorrect seems to have a dirty mind, as it goes out of its way to avoid suggesting swear words, doing “everything in its ‘ducking’ power to prevent you from using them,” claims Madison. Never mind that “Did you get goodies from Santa?” has been changed to “Did you get gonorrhea from Santa?” And that “I paid the babysitter” became “I laid the babysitter.”
For what it’s worth, the book also contains a list of the top twenty-five most common Autocorrect mishaps, most of which you wouldn’t want to text to your parrots—er, parents.