One of the joys of having an eponymous personal finance blog is I don’t ever feel compelled to ensure every article has to be about, well, personal finance.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking: but, Len, it says right there in the header that this is ‘The off-beat personal finance blog for responsible people.” That it is; just not today.
Today I once again want to address a topic that touches everybody: spelling.
Last year I addressed parents that have trouble spelling their kids’ names. Today, I want to get introspective.
The reason I bring this up is because the other day my good friend, Geoff, better known to millions the world over as the Car Negotiation Coach, mentioned that he has trouble spelling my name.
I know; that’s what I thought too.
I mean really, just how hard is it to spell “Len Penzo” anyway? For some reason he always ends up spelling it “Len Pezo.” Really?
I mean, I could understand people having trouble if my name was Len Mxyzptlk, but it’s not. My last name is made up of five friendly letters that faithfully follow phonetic law.
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on Goeff. After all, he confided to me that he also has trouble with a couple other words. Specifically, Jeff said that he is constantly misspelling negotiation and entrepreneur.
It was a genuinely honest admission from Jeoff that instantly resonated with me. It also inspired me to come clean regarding my personal spelling demons. Hopefully, by coming clean, I’ll inspire you to share some words that confound you every time too.
Now, I consider myself to be an excellent speller, but there are some words that I just can’t ever seem to get a handle on.
My biggest spelling demons are occasionally and personnel. For some reason I like to spell them as “occaisionally” and “personell.”
I also seem to have trouble with gauge, and I still don’t know if the drab color that lies in the dreaded no-man’s land between black and white is spelled “gray” or “grey,” although I see my spell-checker seems to prefer the former.
Some words I question even though I know how to spell them, like indefatigable. What I demand to know is if we spell fatigue with the letter “u,” how come indefatigable isn’t spelled “indefatiguable?”
Hey, don’t get mad at me; I didn’t make the rules. I’m just asking.
For their part, Answers.com lists 100 words that are hard to spell. I don’t agree with all of them; for example, owe. (Really? How else would you spell it?)
For the most part though, they do a good job calling out some really tricky-to-spell words like rhythm, embarrass, separate, occurrence, supersede, syzygy, and floccinaucinihilipilification. (I just added that last one to my spell-check dictionary.)
I know a lot of people have trouble spelling diarrhea.
Speaking of diarrhea, I recently discovered the Honeybee has trouble spelling Pepto Bismol. How do I know? Well, we’ve been married for almost 15 years and both times she put it on the shopping list, she managed to spell it “Pepto Bismo.”
The first time she did it – if I remember correctly, it was back in 2004 – I simply passed it off as a careless mistake. Last month, she did it again.
And while that’s certainly not a fair reflection on the quality of the education she received growing up, it does seem to suggest that my family has a very high tolerance for bad Mexican food. After all, two bottles of Pepto Bismol over a 15 year period ain’t too shabby.