Back to what inspired the subject line. While on the bus I was reading Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King, who likes writing in dialect -- lots of "warsh" and "more'n" and the occasional "Sat'dy" -- and I thought What does that look like while it's on a computer screen being spell-checked? Unless King is adding these terms to his spelling program -- that's one thing I miss about WordPerfect, by the way, that you could see a list of the words you'd added -- or (of course) if he's drafting with pen and paper as he sometimes does, the screen's going to have lots of red underlining. And then I realized I don't like seeing all the red underlining when I'm writing on MS Word. And that maybe I steer away from writing certain words, or from writing at all...and I decided Y'know, that's a really stupid hangup.
It's good I never used that early spell-checking program that actually beeped when you misspelled something. (That program was advertised with a commercial where a street painter paints STOB or the writer of messages on a baseball stadium reader board writes IT'S A HOME RIN.) I figure that feature got dropped really quickly.
Maybe I should turn off my Spellcheck and trust both my decent spelling skills and my Webster's Unabridged.
P.S. And because this reminded me of it, here's Spellbound, a poem I like to quote by Penny Harper:
I have a spelling checker
It came with my PC
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I cannot sea.
I've run this poem threw it
I'm sure your pleased too no.
Its letter-perfect in it's way
My checker tolled me sew.