A TGB READER STORY: Around the Pond
Growing Old My Way

Crabby Old Lady on C.R.A.F.T. and Typing Errors

Trying to live with a couple of the irritating artifacts of old age – that's what we're talking about today.

There was a time over many years when Crabby Old Lady could type faster than most people and do it accurately, without hitting wrong keys. It was easy for her to do 125 words-per-minute in those days.

Crabby hasn't timed herself lately but there really is no point since she cannot get through a single line of type nowadays without errors – sometimes several. Because in general, such as cooking or writing with a pen, Crabby does not have hand/eye coordination difficulties, she's chalking it up to old age.

There is a fairly large collection of activities that are not symptoms of dire disease but nevertheless are annoying and slow Crabby down. Typing errors are near the top of the list because Crabby types a lot.

It's so bad recently that she can no longer shoot off even a quick email to a friend without reading it carefully for errors. Even in as short a note as three lines, Crabby often finds half a dozen mistakes.

There is no solution, no backtracking to the days of near perfection in typing that Crabby can find, so she resigns herself to everything involving a keyboard taking twice as long as it once did.

Just to show you what it's like, Crabby going to finish writing this post leaving all the errors intact. Have fun.

At the top of Crabby Old Lady's annoyance list is C.R.A.F.T. It was only a few weeks ago that she discovered this acronym and prompty named it perfect for the irritating situation: “Can't Remember A Fucking Thing.”

Every old person knows the story: make a list for the grocery market, leave it at home (C.R.A/F/t) and even if it had only three items om oit, Crabby gets home with only two. Tthe third one is lost is the ether forever until she needs whatever it is and it's not in the cupoard.

The weird thng is, she remembers the item was on the originalshopping list as soon as she realizes it is missing. How does memeory work, anyway, that Crabby can't remember an item on the list but two wqeekslater recallsit was on the list.

Convervations are the worst. Halfway through a sentence, a word Crabby needs will not appear in her mind. Zero ip there in the vocabulary section of her brain. Her favorite, if it were not so annoying was the time she shouldn't remember the word for scissors.

Here solution that time was to pantomime cutting with her first two fingers while saying, “that thing you cut paper with.” But most of the time even a dedcriptijom like that will not come to mond.

C.R.A.F.T. leaves a lot of holes in conversations and most often it isn't the name of an item that disappears but the entire idea Crabby was talking bout or rwis;;u e,barrassing, the punchlineto a storyl.\

And that common belief that if you don't try to remembere, it will reappear?

Yeah, sure. right after you arrive home or haveh ung up the phonel.

Just to be clear, none of this has anything to do with dementia. It's common to just about all old people and win't kill you – although it might irritate you to death.

You know, maybe if Crabby Old Lady complains enough, lets off enogh steam about all the memory irritations, she'll die without a single thing bothering her/


It is irritating, never the less we persist. My sisters and I have a four-way text conversation that we exercise daily. Except for the youngest who is teaching 2nd grade and quite a bit younger than us (67 thru 77) our texts are full of those odd spellings. We have become experts at translating. Mine are worse in the evening when I am tired.

Welcome to my world. I'm dyslexic and have dealt with spelling errors daily for my entire life. I'm hoping old age will straighten me out.

I love the C.R.A.F.T Acronym. My theory is that it happens to younger people, too, but they are better at covering it up.

Oh boy, if I left my typing errors in no one would have a clue as to what I wrote; least of all, me. Between arthritic fingers that have moved to a different position on my hands, lack of coordination, and just plain prone to errors many words look like your word "rwis;;u ebarrasing," leaving me wondering what I had meant to type.

I not only have to edit my script but rely on spell check to correct the many mistakes. Like everything else these days it takes forever to write a short note and is so much work. Sigh!

Love it!

As lnog as the end letetrs are in the rghit odrer it deonst mtaeter about the mdilde - we can all raed it!

Loving the brains adaptability!

Deer Crabbbie: We're all in the same boat! Memory is a really strange thing. I recall an embarrassing time (I could not have been over age 30) when I forgot how to spell "sugar". I kept trying to spell it with "sh", but knew that wasn't right. I have not improved with age.

My thought: With your other predicament, Mother Nature should have given you a "pass" on the typing thing. Shame on her!

About writing and spelling: when how to make the necessary correction seems to have fled my brain, I copy and dump the strangely spelled word I've produced into Google. About half the time, the Cloud Monster provides. The rest of the time -- I try to write around it.

Yes -- everything takes longer ...

ThisC.R.A.F.T. phenomenon does happen to younger people as Misadventures suspects. I remember having this discussion with close friends 30+ years ago, when we were still in our 30's. One of those friends had defined it as CBS -- Cluttered Brain Syndrome. We were all mothers of young children, and working and going to school, and our brains were indeed cluttered.

I used to mentally collect amusing examples of people saying wrong things. One of my favorites has always been when I was in grade school and eating a meal over at my best friend's house. Her mother asked someone at the table to "pass her that crow jelly." To this day it makes me smile. My mother-in-law did a lot of word searching and mis-naming things and people during the last couple years of living with dementia. It was interesting because she sometimes realized immediately what she had done and laughed about it, although she still couldn't produce the right word or name. The brain and its working are still very mysterious.

As for typing, have you considered or ever tried voice-to-text software? I have been thinking about looking into it for myself. I have a couple of friends who write long and practically perfect paragraphs of text and do it so quickly that I suspect they may use this. It may be time to ask them about it.

Yes, the struggle is real, but we can take comfort in that we know an error when we see it even if it is too late to correct it. On the other hand, have you noticed how the quality of editing in publications has really declined?

This is great! We all can relate! Chuckled at your last paragraph! Regarding the shopping list: I take a photo of it with my cell phone—if I rmember...
Ruth M.

My mother used to say something like, "I forget the present and remember the past." Very strange how we might remember word for word the song we sang in junior high, but can't remember the word "imitate."

I, too, was a crack typist at one time. Now, all my typing is done with two fingers—sometimes just one hand—on a touch screen. That certainly hasn’t improved my skill. Sometimes the errors matter, sometimes they don’t. The last time I used my PC, I thought it was broken, until I realized I was banging on the monitor instead of the keyboard. (BTW, I just corrected four errors in that last sentence.)

I've been dealing with typing errors since... well, since whenever I had to deal with a keyboard. I do this weird improvised thing with, like, two fingers on each hand plus my thumbs (long story), and yet I can type without having to look at the keyboard. I always correct my errors as I go, and I edit a lot for writing quality, too, before hitting 'enter' or 'submit'.

Other people have told me, "Come on, just go with the flow. Be spontaneous! Give us your first thoughts!" but I CAN'T do it. I really cannot do it, because the first version of my thoughts is never what I actually wanted to say.

If misery really does "love" company, Ronni, it looks like it is time to put the big company coffee pot on. We're in love with TGB.

These difficulties certainly come with the territory we are in.
A friend from my old Nevada neighborhood called it "BRAIN FLATULENCE" !

We all find ways to cope, it seems. Being house bound a lot of the time...I cannot bear to give up written correspondence regardless how long it takes good ol' me.

In my youth, I used to remember almost everyone I met - their name and face. Now at times I will draw a blank when I run into people who know me but for the life of me I cannot remember either their name or how I have known them. It eventually comes back like at 3 a.m.! Scares me because my Dad had Alzheimer's so any memory loss triggers the fear that it is starting.
I love your blog and continue to type as you do - we all seemed to have understood today's entry.

Worse than CRAFT is TED (Too Easily Distracted). It means that while I am trying to remember something, I find something else that gets my attention and I forget about the original missing thought.

Typing errirors I hear you loud and clear...see.. It's like my brain gets ahead of my fingers sometimes as I'll recognize the start of the next word stuck inside the word. While I have decided I am in no hurry so the excuse has to be my ind...see (mind) I also have a problem with capital I and often trot along with lower case and to lazy to go back.

As for hunting a word, do that all the time and remember when my mom would do that and I couldn't figure out why. Shoot she was 82 and I'm only 79.

Thank you, Ronni, for another wonderful post to remind us what it is like to be an aging human. Not always easy.

At 70, I am still a pretty good typist. However, recalling words to use in conversation is becoming a bit more problematic. I also use hand gestures, or I resort to a 2-3-sentence description of the word I can't recall. Hopefully the other person has the word I need stored in their brain!

While I realize most of us, if not all, will develop some memory difficulties as we age, I delude myself with a silly thought. My brain is full of words, experiences, thoughts which I didn't have at 30 or 40 or 50. So my brain has a bigger job to do while it searches for the right word.

I know more changes are coming as I get older. I only hope I can maintain a sense of humor and acceptance about the changes.

I was never much of a typist, so now it's really getting bad. I can't help correcting errors as I go, even though I've heard you shouldn't do that. As an editor I had an eagle eye for errors, but now I can miss them even after two or three reads.

And the memory thing! Egads it's frustrating. I attribute it to both age and residual chemo brain. My son says that at age 75, my "hard drive" is full and it just takes longer to access things.

Great acronym, I'm definitely going to remember that!

I was never a fast typist (30 wpm on average) but I don't think I've slowed down too much yet. However I think I've become dyslexic in old age, I routinely misread things now, often with hilarious results. Actually, I kind of enjoy that one.

Haha! That's really funny!! My mom is 83 and experiences all of what you describe. She is a prolific writer and I, her editor. For years it was content driven editing. Now I'm constantly fixing typos. And she gets so frustrated by not finding her words... You described it to a tee. Gonna go have a coffee and show her your post. 😄

Here are two helpful solutions:

1. Spell check

2. Post it notes


I am 71 and just finished my fourth ebook novel which my wife, who will turn 68 in a couple of weeks edited it. In addition to writing the manuscript, I re-read it at least 3 times - and corrected everything I could find. She found 120 typos (admittedly some attributable to autocorrect) all of which I corrected - then when published, my oldest son (who is 39) immediately found two errors in the first 4 chapters!

C.R.A.F.T. is perfect -

But you got the F-word perfect! Way to go!

I am the MASTER of the BACKSPACE button!
1 space, 2 spaces, 3 spaces, HECK--an entire sentence!
(I highlight entire paragraphs and delete...but that's another post.)

I could have written that whole blog today.

This post is the funniest one ever! And if you ever want a laugh, just search for ridiculous autocorrect texts!

Wow, I see myself in so much of what everyone shared today. For now, I console myself with the knowledge that dementia does not appear to run in my family, so I chalk up my errors and omissions to TED and a full "hard drive", lol! I so appreciate all the words of wisdom and experience that I read here - it sure makes my journey more interesting and less mysterious.

I had to howl laughing as I have to back pedal all the time, always pondering whether to delete the misspelled word or try and fix it (delete, delete, fixing presents fresh new problems!).

The editing takes forever. So yeah, it all takes 3-4 times as long. What I also find irritating me more are all the letters worn out on my keyboard because no memory of where the e or i was. Never bothered me before. Why can't they make keyboards that will last? So annoying.

I loved your last line. I will remember it.


It has nothing to do with dementia, unless and until it turns out to be dementia.

At first they will call it MCI -- Mild Cognitive Impairment -- then in a year or so after that they will ask you to draw the clock and cube, and you'd better be able to do it or they will deliver the news, in verbal caps. Hoard pain pills and use them within a year of the dementia diagnosis; don't leave yourself open to the horrors of late stage ALZ and Memory Care.

Obviously not all old age memory issues become dementia, but a large percentage of them do.

Old age--ain't it grand? NOT! At 82 I have the same issues as most TGB readers with typing (although I still catch most of my errors) and remembering words, names, etc. Like Cassandra, I sometimes worry about a possible future involving "memory care" and with any luck will not end up there.

I agree with her suggestion, too. Caveat: pain meds can be hard to obtain these days since "our" government has decreed that long term pain patients need to suck it up and suffer in the name of dealing with an "opioid crisis" they did not create!

You have mentioned the loss in the sense of touch in the past . Don't you think this is an indication of it. I used to work on a manual typewriter with three carbons and now cannot seem to hit the keys evenly and miss many s's, c's and e's - all with my strong middle left finger. I should have written this without correcting, but you probably couldn't make it out if I had.

In revisiting today's post and reading the rest of the comments, something struck me while thinking about the memory care concerns brought up here. In the cases of both my in-laws, and my parents, it was the woman who fell victim to dementia. And in further thinking about the memory care facilities I've spent a significant amount of time visiting in recent years, the majority of residents have been women. Now I'm wondering whether this is because women live longer than men, something hormonal, or something else.

If it's any comfort--probably not--but if it is, I am texting constantly with my daughter who is with her sister in California, and the texts going both ways are riddled with errors.

So, so true. Try mixing old age with lost vision and things get very weird.

My smart phone can be dictated to for texting, coomposing emais and adding to my grocery list. I have to enlarge and then carefully check the words before hitting "send". the phones software gets really confused and can com up wth some lullu's. (BTW, I'm leaving my typong as is like you did) I can see a lot of red underlines.)

I'vd been suffering from CR.S. for a long time (Can't remember Shit, a cousin to CRAFT. ) Names and words like scissos are stumbling blocks as well.

Loved the post. Don't worry about errors. It just makes us love you more.

Dear Miss Crabbie and those responding to her - OMG - thanks for the laughs. My cheeks hurt!
At 85 I too suffer from typing errors. I also forget names, words, places and drop seem to drop at least one something every day. Whats going on? I am only almost 85!

I recently had to change keyboards and find that I make many mistakes on the new one, which isn't comfortable to use and the keys have minds of their own. I'm going to search for a keyboard that is more like a typewriter with defined keys.

Getting to this party late. Excuse the change of subject please.

Simultaneously watching the evening news and Alex Trebek has stage four pancreatic cancer. And already the narrative is full of things like “fighting it” and “ he is a survivor “ and “ strongest person I know“. All this may very well be sort of true but dammit please let’s just be done with the cancer warrior mentality. You can only control cancer up to a point. Hopefully we can discuss this again on Friday😢😢

And OBTW I respect and admire this man...

This is the time when you really have to learn to laugh at yourself !!

I just tell people, "Please bear with me. My memory banks are full and my search engine has slowed down!"

Then there's my Dad's favorite excuse, "I got my tongue wrapped around my eyeteeth and couldn't see what I was saying!"

I have C.R.A.F.T. Also, as I have essential tremor, my typing and hand writing have gone downhill. Well, what can I do? Just keep trying! And try not to be Crabby.

You are such a fabulous teacher.

I join you. And too, you might email A. Trebeck,

Hahaha! The story of my life these days. Even more annoying is the autocorrect function when I am typing on my iPhone. Did you know there are some words that aren’t even recognized by autocorrect? If you spell “shit’ wrong, it stays the way you wrote it. Then you are correct to say, “I can’t spell shit!”

So funny. Annoying and funny. And still i didn't miss a thing in the last uncorrected paragraphs.

Loved this post!
Years ago it was explained to me the difference between normal forgetfulness and a cause for concern:
The humble carrot:
It’s normal to forget it’s name
It’s a cause for concern to forget it’s a food item.

I wonder how many typing errors can be attributed to newer keyboards. Analyzing Crabby's errors, there are only a few that involve the home row keys while quite a few errors involve the space bar. On my keyboard and no doubt worse on a laptop, the space bar is closer in than it use to be on a old fashioned typewriter (remember those?) with a sloped key arrangement. Muscle memory causes you to hit the area below the bar and no space is typed.

I, also, make more keying errors than I use to ***on my computer keyboard***. Contrast that to my piano, where the keys are where they have always been and my error rate is about the same as always. Not to imply that I don't make mistakes on the piano because I do but that is a different issue.

Don't worry about the typing errrors, had absolutely no prob lem reading the uncorrected blog. Ronni, thank you and thank you again. I live on my own (cat just died and in need of another, otherwise I'll losae my cat language).

Hallelujajh, I'm on my own but not ALONE!

I love watching Jeopardy and sad to hear that Trebek has pancreatic ca. I'm trying to figure out how to get him to your blog, he will need it.

Again, thank you thank you.

Wow! How cool!

Sometimes if I can’t think of a word I write something about it in search and Google comes up with the word for me. Otherwise, I try to use various word finding techniques that are described on various sites as speech therapists recommend.

Good friends and I don’t fret spelling precision in our correspondence for just routine type matters whether it was cursive or typing in the past, and now if we text, instant message or email. I try to be more careful with blogging but sometimes may not edit as carefully as in any professional/business writing I’ve ever done.

I’ve gotten so I write a lot with just touch rather than as I did when typing. I’m quite speedy with a couple fingers. I encounter what my son tells me is called “fat finger”. This manifests by causing adjoining letters to print instead of the correct one I think I’ve chosen, or runs several words together because I’m faster than this device processes, I guess. I should turn off the editing function cause it really comes up with bizarre words when it kicks in. Can surely be good for laughs!

The comments to this entry are closed.