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The Up Beat
By Amy Wong

The Sinister Emu, or Positive Thinking and Autocorrect

I was at the office last night editing a story when I got this text from my dog walker: “Nice walk with the sinister.” Um, what? Winky might like to think she’s fierce enough to face down the fearsome Great Dane who lives across the street, but she’s hardly sinister.

I knew Autocorrect was the culprit. Still, it took me a while to figure out what my dog walker must have typed originally: “the Winkster,” one of Winky’s many nicknames. Of course, I could have asked, but that would have taken the fun out of it.

And most of the time, what Autocorrect comes up with is pretty funny. Take the email I got from an old friend that ended mysteriously with “socks.” She has a degree in linguistic anthropology, so I thought this might be some esoteric word play. Nope. She’d dashed off “soxo” instead of “xoxo,” and Autocorrect decided she meant to say “socks.” Well, I guess there’s warmth in both.

Then there was the time I hurriedly mistyped my name “Amu.” My iPad promptly transformed me into a large, flightless Australian bird. That’s right, an emu.

I have to give Autocorrect credit, though. Sometimes it really can read my mind. I started typing “Happy weekend” and only had to get three letters in before it realized my true intention: “Nap.”

What does all this have to do with positive thinking? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just a good reminder to not always be in a rush. Taking the time to say what you mean and mean what you say, even in something as transitory as a text message, makes you a more positive person.

Now it’s time for the sinister emu to wish you a nap. You know what I mean, right?

Amy Wong is the executive editor of Guideposts and was a founding editor of Positive Thinking. She lives in New York City with her adopted dog, Winky, a natural-born positive thinker who believes that everyone has a treat for her and every day is the best day of her life. Amy hopes to be that optimistic someday (she’s working on it!).