An Identity Crisis. – By @LaskarisPhillip
By Phillip Laskaris
An Identity Crisis.
I recently had an identity crisis. I was faced with one decision and it felt as if my whole life stood in the balance. Everything about who I was and who I will be depended on this decision.
It all started with U, the letter U. Apparently, I couldn’t keep spelling splendour as splendor, or favour as favor. And it was no longer in good “humor”.
My words were being corrected for spelling mistakes I wasn’t even aware I was making. No matter how many times I proofread, the red marker of copyediting ran through my work. Time after time I disappointed my art director. And a copywriter who can’t even spell isn’t worth his own organs.
I did start to learn, to recognise that the British don’t really use the letter “Z” as much as us crasy Americans do. But you do us it sometimes. *Crazy.
However, it wasn’t enough, a changed needed to be made. I couldn’t keep carrying on with these pre-school/primary school mistakes.
So, I opened word. Then opened google, because I had no idea where the language settings were on word. I found the steps and followed them. They go as such: file, options (this one is tricky, all the way at the bottom), language.
My language at the time was “English (United States)”.
First, I had to add a language. I started scrolling through the options, but couldn’t find a British English, or English (Britain) or Queen’s Tongue. I just kept scrolling.
I was almost relieved. I wouldn’t have to change because I couldn’t! That reality was shattered by a friend who pointed out that English (United Kingdom) sat right on top of English (United States). I had just blocked it out.
I added the language.
But the job wasn’t done. English (United States) was still the primary language and when US spelling was used, I wouldn’t be corrected. English (United States) needed to be… removed.
Could I remove my own native tongue? By removing it, would I no longer be able to write in it?
Would everything American about me be lost in the process? I began to imagine a world where I didn’t say things like “Damn right” and “That’s awesome.” In this world I wasn’t brash or arrogant, I didn’t even own a gun.
I was looking at my past, worried I would forget it. I decided to look towards the future to see if that would offer any solace.
In my future I saw biscuits, but no cookies. I saw myself playing football, but without the pads. And I saw my son. He was wearing a starchy shirt, a wrinkled tie, and trousers, but not pants.
Even though the site was terrifying, my future self was smiling. I could hardly believe it. I sat looking at my computer screen. Then I wondered if jumping off the third floor of Pop Brixton would be enough, I decided it wasn’t, and instead, I decided to accept the changes I made to my language settings.