WRITTEN BY: EDDIE SNIPES – FEB• 06•10
I didn’t even know how to spell dyslexia until I found out I are one. Once, when making a joke about dyslexia, a woman scolded me, saying that it was degrading, offensive, and I shouldn’t make fun of people who struggle with this problem. To which I replied, “I joke for my apologize.”
Since I was born and raised in the town of Dyslexia, I retain the right to joke about myself, and the people in our exclusive community. If you are one of those rare people who are unaware of it, Dyslexia is a condition where numbers, words, and other facts have a tendency of getting scrambled in our minds. For most of my life, I was unaware of my condition, or that it was fairly common. As a young boy, I saw a commercial about dyslexia where a boy looked at various street signs and saw what looked like a game of Jumble. I was grateful that when I looked at road signs, I didn’t see SOPT HADEA like those poor kids with dyslexia did. That translates into STOP AHEAD in case you’re confused.
For years, I wondered why I made such careless mistakes when writing words and numbers. I would right things like, “When I eat pees, it makes my stomach fill fowl.” By the way, if you don’t see anything wrong with that sentence, welcome to the club! Homophones are enemies of dyslexics, and the above example is the most common struggle I have with writing. Anyone who writes knows that you are to let the thoughts flow, and then go back and edit later. Finding homophones are a challenge, since they are words that sound the same as the word you intended to use.
I have made an interesting observation about my dyslexia over the years. When copying information, if I say it as I write, I catch most errors. I may say it wrong, and write it correctly, or say it right while writing it incorrectly, but I never seem to scramble both at the same time. I don’t know why this is so, but apparently the audio / visual department and the printing department in my brain are not plugged into the same database.
Dyslexia can have its benefits. When I was in the Army, I had the worst job of my life. I was in charge of signing out weapons and equipment for training. I had long hours and little freedom. The commander wanted each item signed out without taking the time to verify serial numbers, but also required that every serial number be accurately accounted for. The stress was tremendous. You may already suspect what happens when a dyslexic is put in charge of writing down hundreds of serial numbers in a short time.
One day, an inspector showed up to compare our inventory with what was issued. Each arms room was inspected several times a year, and it was counted toward the commander’s effectiveness. Out of hundreds of entries, I was amazed to find out that only one number was transposed. I felt quite satisfied, but the inspector did not share my enthusiasm. The arms room failed its inspection. Within the hour, I was sitting in a room with several officers to give an account for my failure.
There was talk about removing me from the arms room, and then my commander looked at me and said, “I know you failed on purpose.”
Everyone hated this duty, so it was a logical assumption. I started to open my mouth to plead my case, but fortunately I stopped my words. They were talking about firing me from the arms room – the job I hate. Maybe I should wait to see the ramifications before pleading my case. I was moved to a more tolerable task, and army life was brighter – thanks to my dyslexic mistake.
The challenges are amplified when I am facing things that are closely related. I’ve already mentioned homophones, but names can be a problem. I have five children, and that is too many options to sort through. If I guess wrong, I just say, “Whoever you are, get over here.” Lord help me if my sister and wife are in the same room. My sister’s name is Judie. That begins with a ‘J’, and ends with ‘ie’. My wife’s name is Jennie. Do you see any similarities? When they are in the same room together, my eyes start crossing and I vibrate until a hole blows through the back of my head.
After the steam quits belching out, I look at my daughter, Natalie and say, “Sophia, it’s time to quit playing, and put your yots away. You and your sisters get in the home, and let’s go car before I get dain bramage.”