by David Sisler

Everyone who has ever used a word processor has had to do it. You are running the spell check feature (probably the best thing to happen to computers since the hard drive -- and the curse of English teachers everywhere) when an error message pops up telling you, your program does not recognize a particular word. It is a good word, spelled correctly, but it is simply not recognized by WordPerfect, Word Star, MS Word, et al. The folks who wrote the program just did not put it in the dictionary. Fortunately, most programs have a "user dictionary" where you can enter words of your own choosing, thus eliminating that "I don't recognize this word, you dolt" message.

My user dictionary in WordPerfect 5.1 has a list of some 600 words that the computer should have known, but did not. The programmers did a better job teaching 6.1 to spell.

For your personal edification, I have selected one word to represent each letter -- A through W and Y and Z.

First letter, first word: "abba," an Aramaic word used three times in the Bible, the first usage is in Mark 14:46. Jesus prayed, "Abba, Father! You can do all things. Let me not have this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want." A footnote explains, "Abba is the name a child calls his father." English equivalent, "Daddy." Jesus taught us we can abandon our formality and our fear and boldly approach Father God. Daddy.

Buechner (Frederick), author, minister. His book, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy & Fairy Tale, is a book worth reading. I've read it five times.

Cinderella. We need our fairy tales. The moral of this story, according to yours truly, is, your current condition is not all there is. Sometimes good things happen to good people.

DiMaggio (Joe), the Yankee Clipper. He hit .323 as a rookie (in 138 games), with 29 homers and 125 runs batted in. In 1949, he battled back from near-crippling injuries (which would have kept today's millionaire cry-babies sidelined forever), and led the Yankees to another World Series victory (9 total, in 13 seasons).

Emmanuel. God with us, otherwise known as Jesus of Nazareth.

Femtosecond. A really, really short length of time. It's on the list because time, no matter how long or short, is our second most precious gift (for most precious, see "Emmanuel").

Gamaliel. A scholar still revered in Jewish circles today. In Luke's historical account of the early church he advised caution in dealing with Christians. "If their plan comes from men," he said, "it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them." Twenty centuries later, critics still try.

Hephzibah. God's pet name for Israel. It means "My delight is in her." And you thought it was just a place for zip code 30815, and an almost impossible name to spell (I gave up and got a post office box in Augusta).

Inerrancy. A word which a lot of folks who call themselves Christians have forgotten. It means (rough translation, check Webster for an official rendering) God meant what he said and he said it in the Bible.

Jennifer. The name of our first born (I had to teach the computer her middle name, too -- Darlyn). The computer recognized Amy Elizabeth, Michael David and Matthew James. Maybe the lesson is, 25 years later, parenting is an ongoing learning process.

KJV. The most beautiful English translation of God's Word, ever.

Leningradskya. Come to Samara, Russia, with me sometime and I'll take you shopping there. If you like flea markets, you'll love this street.

Lexicographer's note: WordPerfect 5.1 also did not recognize lovingkindness. Lots of folks miss that one, too.

Mazeroski (Bill). See, Baseball, World Series, 1960, Game 7. Bucs win! Bucs win!

Naaman. A man who dared to believe God's word, even when it sounded totally ridiculous.

Okefenokee. Sometimes spelling will swamp you. Sorry.

Piltdown. As in Piltdown Man, proof some people will believe anything.

Quayle. A good man who deserved better (so what if he couldn't spell -- neither can this computer).

Retrovirus. A word we learned when we couldn't learn to control ourselves.

Sisler. Especially Melvin David and Mary Elizabeth, alias Dad and Mom. As Paul Harvey might say, 50 years along the road to forever together.

Taber's. Your jeweler with the 100 day money-back guarantee. Too good to last. It didn't.

Unsearchable. See Ephesians 3:18.

Vargo (Derek), last remaining original member of the Sisler Family and Friends Star Trek Association and Quilting Bee. It would take too long to explain it, but at our first meeting we watched "Space Seed" and Star Trek II, III, IV, and V back to back, to back, to back.

Wrestlemania. Can you say, choreographed? But great fun.

Y'all. A good Southern expression, the singular form of "all y'all."

Zacchaeus. A man who would let nothing get in his way of meeting Jesus. What is stopping you?


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 3/16/96

Copyright 1996 by David Sisler

Your comment is welcome. Write to me at:

Back to David Sisler's Home Page