When “U” and “I” Are Side-by-Side.

Let us therefore make every effort

to do what leads to peace

and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:19

Text messages from a middle eastern friend whose native language is Arabic, but whose second language is English, often present me with a translation challenge:

U am here now  (Um, “I am here now”?)

So u will tell what happened with me that time…  (How in the world can I tell U what happened when I have no idea what it was that happened to U?)

It wasn’t until I studied the keyboard arrangementWhen U and I Are Side by Side-picmonkey (exhibit A) that I realized how she’d made the error. She’d intended I” and hit “U”. Because they are neighboring keys.

However it came to be that the letters on a keyboard were arranged in the order that they are, I doubt any consideration was given for the fact that one might, while in a rush and without one’s reading glasses, inadvertently type the letter “I”, rather than its neighbor, “U”.

This is particularly disturbing when the word SHUT was intended. Yeah, true. I fell victim to the close proximity of U and I in what was meant to read as a simple prayer in a group email – “May God open and shut doors…”  Sadly, my lofty sentiment didn’t arrive in the recipients’ inboxes looking that way 🙁  

A humiliating, typographical error!

So, Houston, we have a problem.

~Shouldn’t this threat to clear communication be eliminated?

~Shouldn’t there be a world-wide movement to alter this standard keyboard arrangement in order that future alphabetical blunders such as these won’t happen?When U and I Are Side by Side.-2-picmonkey

~Shouldn’t one of these letters be moved two rows down where, if placed beside, say, the letter X, the emergence of unintentional profanity wouldn’t stand a chance?

Or…should U and I realize the value in their differences and learn to get along?

Because when U and I are ordered properly, the message is no longer cryptic.

When U and I Are Side by Side-3-picmonkey

Ah, much better.

U and I are necessary characters, persnickety keyboard neighbors who must accept and cooperate with God’s providential placement.

Thorough consideration should be given before striking U or I. Which one best communicates the point, U or I? And could it be that U and I need to give way to the more qualified, neighboring letter O? …say, when the intended word is SHOT in reference to a law enforcement episode or a successful hunting trip.

When U and I Are Side-by-Side-4-picmonkeyTurns out that U and I can learn a lesson from T and R. Their keyboard placement has resulted in typos, as well.

I’ve come to accept and appreciate the fact that U and I have been placed side-by-side.

Still, it’ll be awhile before I scribe a prayer asking God to open and SHUT doors.


  1. Kay Bowman says:

    So thankful that you have your article in Sophie. Would love to be a contemporary Christian writer, but at the present time, some health issues are forcing me to wait and be patient. S.S.U. is precisely where I’m at. Glad to see you printed something about us people; most people don’t want to hear about us. I wear my smile and ask how they are doing. Keep in touch. Thanks, Kay Bowman

    • Kay, super thankful you stopped by and were blessed by the article. God is the Author Who is always, always writing the story of our own lives in order to craft real and relatable characters. Yes, be patient. S.S.U. is a difficult university to be enrolled in, but worth the coursework and graduation. Feel free to email anytime maryfelkins@charter.net

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