Confessions of a Dyslexic Accountant

March 12, 2015


Hi. My name is Bob. I’m an accountant. And I have Permanent Onset Radically Transposing Late Adult Number Dyslexia (or ‘PORTLAND’ for short). Self-diagnosed, of course. I don’t even know if there is such a thing as “onset number dyslexia”. In fact, a quick Google search of the term returns nil. So I am announcing herewith that I have discovered a new debilitating number transposing syndrome and I am calling it PORTLAND.

Historically I have always been a number cruncher. I could whip out multiplication tables lickity split. Give me a short list of two digit numbers and I could give you back the sum in no time. And that’s why I studied accounting in college. I like my accounting day job. Every business needs a bean counter. I get a lovely sedentary job in a comfortable chair with a pair of monitors and unlimited computer access. Excel is my best friend, and at the end of the day the debits and credits all just have to add up to $0.

Why do I think I have PORTLAND? Lately I’ve noticed things just don’t add up. I have noticed clues pointing to this fact. Perhaps you’ve noticed clues as well? Here’s a starter list. See if any of these sound familiar:

  • A stranger answers the phone and you realize you’ve transposed numbers and dialed the wrong person.
  • You punch an incorrect number sequence on an adding machine, causing infinite frustration for an accountant trying to reconcile $0.27.
  • You expect to pay the bargain price of $9.99 for a set of name brand headphones and discover at the register that the actual cost is $99.99.
  • Your bank sends you a message that you just deposited only $23.21, not $32.12.
  • You look at a set of easy numbers, say, ‘12345’. And while performing quick data entry you catch yourself typing ‘13254’ (and subsequently ask yourself, ‘WTF did I do that for?’).

Yes, these clues have all happened to me. And it only happens with numbers, not letters. Since there is no official diagnosis for PORTLAND, there is no cure. Thus, it I am categorizing it as a progressive syndrome that may or may not get worse with age. The only treatment is support groups. So far I’m the only one.

Anyone want to join mine?

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