I don’t know who invented putting red squiggly lines under words to show you misspelt them, but it was really a dumb idea. They scream at you incessantly: MISTAKE, MISTAKE, ANOTHER MISTAKE!! It’s enough to drive you insane. Or who invented using red to correct work, anyway? Inquiring minds want to know! When you see that red, it sends stabbing pains through your body as they explode in front of your face–YOU ARE WRONG, YOU ARE WRONG, YOU ARE WRONG!! Are those red squiggly lines affecting your mental health ? Based on my experience I’d say yes. No wonder so many people need therapy these days. If you need a little more help with this affliction check out my post: It’s all about not giving up.
The meaning of the color red
I did research on the meaning of the color red and found nothing about who came up with this bright idea, but I did stumble upon this encouraging information:
First, blood is red in color, so red ink from a pen resembles blood and generally the appearance of blood is a sign of pain and death. Secondly, when someone dies, his or her name is recorded in the family register and on funeral banners in red ink. It’s believed that this practice wards off evil spirits.
Now if that’s not depressing enough, I don’t know what is. If every time we see those red marks on our work, our subconscious is whispering : pain, death, pain, death, and our only consolation is it fights off evil spirits, maybe that’s the reason therapy is a booming business! It could definitely be a part of past trauma since it starts in kindergarten and ends somewhere near never. I even found articles that discuss the way it hurts students self-esteem and in some school districts, in particular one in the UK, they banned the teachers from using red ink to correct papers.
They “other side” of the red pen dilemma
There are always two sides to every story. One teacher has a Facebook page and a Youtube channel called Red Pen Logic (RPL). I don’t understand how he can have a Facebook page and a Youtube channel. Seriously, is there that much to it? He must have started it during the pandemic out of sheer boredom. Mr. RPL glories in use of the red pen. He says teachers shouldn’t just use it to show student’s they’ve made a MISTAKE, but to challenge them with questions about their wrongness.
Speaking from a mental health perspective, I’m changing my strut about red squiggly lines. They’ll have a deeper meaning for me now. Not only will they tell me I spelt a word wrong, but they’ll ask me a challenging question—like what would it take for you to spell this word correctly?
If those red squiggly lines are affecting your mental health, you can use my little trick. And what do you think about those red squiggly lines anyway? Leave a comment or:
Get inspired — Kathy