My Name is a Typo

JIYOON HA

Room Magazine - - LANG | EVERY DAY, ALL THE TIME: RENÉE SAROJINI SAK -

You know you’re eth­nic as hell when your own smart de­vices im­me­di­ately au­to­cor­rect your Korean name. Ap­par­ently, ac­cord­ing to Ap­ple, Jiyoon is in­cor­rect. In­stead, their de­vices of­fer a plethora of al­ter­na­tives; the most no­table be­ing Ja­son, June, Jouoom (this one re­mains the most mys­te­ri­ous of the bunch), and even Jamie.

That last name, Jamie, is the new­est ad­di­tion to Ap­ple’s ever-grow­ing list of eth­nic name al­ter­na­tives. It’s the name to whom one of the ed­i­tors of my school’s news­pa­per once ad­dressed their email re­sponse re­gard­ing my pitch re­quest. To add some con­text to this scene, this was my first time ever pick­ing up a pitch from the school news­pa­per’s weekly emails. Af­ter two months of ner­vously go­ing to their weekly meet­ings, I felt a tiny jolt of courage and de­cided to act upon it. I had waited a nerve-wrack­ing forty-eight hours for the ed­i­tor’s re­sponse to my pitch re­quest, so I was ut­terly crest­fallen when their re­ply read:

“Hey Jamie,

Sorry to say but all of the pitches got taken . . .”

I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Af­ter about thirty sec­onds, I re­ceived a fol­low-up email in which they half-heart­edly apol­o­gized on the be­half of their MacBook’s au­to­cor­rect.

But this whole au­to­cor­rect fi­asco isn’t for­eign to me. Ever since I be­gan us­ing Mi­crosoft Word, I would see that per­sis­tent red squig­gle un­der­lin­ing my name, mark­ing it as a spell­ing mis­take, an er­ror, a non-word in the English vo­cab­u­lary. The first time I en­coun­tered this mock­ing red squig­gle was in the third grade, when our class mi­grated to the school’s com­puter lab to learn how to use Mi­crosoft Word. I vividly re­mem­ber the out­rage that rip­pled through­out my very mul­ti­cul­tural class­room, all be­cause of this pe­cu­liar lit­tle squig­gle.

My friend Roja frowned at her boxy com­puter screen. “That’s weird; why does my name have a red un­der­line?” She peered at the boy sit­ting next to her. “Danny doesn’t have one!”

Mur­murs of con­fu­sion re­ver­ber­ated through­out the com­puter lab. I re­mem­ber then, quickly typ­ing in some of my class­mates’ names to

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