While editing a document recently, I noticed spaces missing between periods and the next sentence and between end parenthesis and the next word. I thought my eyes were tired and I simply wasn’t seeing clearly. Then again, there were too many errors to ignore. So I compared the current version with a previous version of the same document – spaces were not an issue in the previous version.

To quote Alice (Alice in Wonderland): “Curiouser and curiouser.”

I emailed my colleague, “Have you noticed that spaces are missing in this document?”

“Yes – I noticed that. I don’t know what happened.”

“Maybe Computer Gremlins* got into the document and ate the spaces,” I emailed back.

“Haha!  I kind of like the idea of Computer Gremlins.  Not their actions though,” my colleague responded.

What are Computer Gremlins anyway?

Way back in the dark ages, when desktop computers first came out, they were really glorified word processors. There were always glitches with these “technological wonders!” We’d log off at the end of the day, shut the machine down and leave. In the morning, we’d turn the machine on, log on, try to open the file we’d saved so carefully the night before and couldn’t access the file. Or we’d be typing into the document, save it, and suddenly it would disappear. Stuff like that. We had no idea what caused these glitches or how things happened. So we all figured Computer Gremlins snuck in to the computers and wreaked havoc with our work (this was before any of us non-techies knew about hackers)!

Maybe Computer Gremlins still exist … and now they are “outer space” eaters!”

Thanks to my colleague for inspiring this story!


*Gremlin – “An imaginary mischievous sprite regarded as responsible for an unexplained problem or fault, esp. a mechanical or electronic one.”