We are all cursed.

Each person shoulders a different curse. Just as no two snowflakes are identical, curses may be similar but quite distinct in their details and implementation by the cursed party.

Most folks, the hum-zone guys and gals, hardly notice or even recognize their particular curse. After all, one must step outside the “self-box” to notice the finer nuances of a curse. Hence, the hum-zone moniker.

Of course, skeptics abound. The idea of being cursed is too farfetched. The concept belongs in the mythical realm where witches and wizards dwell. Those who wander through life in the “real world” do not believe in such nonsense. If they did, the next thing they would do is send their urchins to Hogwarts to learn protection spells.

The interesting or perhaps more accurate fact about each curse is that it is more often than not self-inflicted. Why would anyone be masochistic enough to initiate pain or discomfort on themselves? The answer, a curse may be self-inflicted, but it is rarely a conscious decision.

Consider this. If you go around straightening pictures, paintings, or diplomas on someone else’s wall, your curse is an abhorrence for asymmetry. In other words, crooked pictures drive you crazy.

You did not wake up one day and decide it was your crusade to straighten unevenly hung objects on walls. The curse manifests itself as an itch you must scratch, or you will start pulling your hair in frustration. Even though you may apologize for your actions, the compulsion to right the imperfection of such crookedness is impossible to ignore. The problem can become so acute that if you do not act, the urge to do so will become unbearable.

Some people feel compelled to color code everything. In their minds, the dissonance of mixed colors becomes troubling to the point that they must act. For example, color-coding shirts and blouses may include lining them up by sleeve length as well.

The same is true of the urge to organize things. For example, some folks handle such a need by alphabetizing their spice collection or other items on the pantry shelf. Although most people place their frequently used spices in an easily accessible place, the organizer-phobes become frantic if one item is out of place.

To answer your unasked question, this writer suffers from an acute case of misspelling and word usage intolerance. A female sibling accused her of correcting the spelling in letters. Allegedly, the big sister returned the letters with spelling correction included. We cannot deny or own up to such behavior because we have slept since such alleged offenses.

However, this writer recalls numerous instances of how she reacted to other people’s misuse of words and incorrect spelling. Part of the blame could be because she was an English teacher in another life. The other is because she is a voracious reader. As proof, she offers the following fact: she read 31 books since January 1, 2020.

Nothing puts the brakes on the flow of a book than encountering misspelled or incorrectly used words. The sudden stoppage breaks the reader’s concentration, jarring a person from the zone the author intended to create. If forced to reread sentences or paragraphs to decipher the author’s intent, the house of cards or story collapses.

A couple of examples may demonstrate the level of this writer’s curse.

The lady walked up to the fancy dental office building. Undoubtedly, a great deal of thought went into the building design, which included an expensive bronze plaque by the entrance. When she read the Biblical quote, it was incorrect in word usage as well as accuracy.

She marched up to the receptionist and pointed out the errors. The receptionist gave a polite but condescending look. You know, the I-don’t-care-and-leave-me-alone sneer. How rude.

At her gym, this lady noticed the following sign by women’s workout room’s doorway: “Women only. Except durring classes.” When she pointed out the glaring error to the manager, he explained it was a gift from a member. “Were you an English teacher?” he asked with a smirk. She sheepish nod evoked his laughter.

Sadly, her critical eye is rarely appreciated.



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