Post by Jenny
It’s the last day of January, and already the year is rolling along. So far, knock on wood, I’m keeping up. I hope you are, too.
This year, I want to read more books about writing, and related subjects, than I did last year. That shouldn’t be too difficult, as last year I read exactly zero books that qualify. So I came up with the brilliant plan to post a book summary on the last Monday of every month. That way, you all can keep me accountable. (And if you could remind me to exercise more often, that would help, too.)
Without further ado, its time for this month’s book.
If you noticed the missing apostrophe in the previous sentence, January’s book should appeal to you. It’s The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time. Distressed by our country’s public displays of poor punctuation and other grammatical goofs, Jeff Deck, an editor “with no off-switch,” formed the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL) with his friend Benjamin D. Herson. The goal of these two brave souls was to locate—and correct—such mistakes. Like any noble quest, it required hitting the road.
Armed with sharp eyes and a Typo Correction Kit (correction fluid, chalk, markers), the friends “circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park.” That’s right—not only did they find mistakes, they fixed them whenever they could. In some cases, the correction could be accomplished with a surreptitious swipe of a Sharpie. But many times, it required pointing out the error to an actual human being.
That’s the part that would stop me. Just the other day, I saw a sign in my local warehouse store advertising “Assorted Exercise Video’s.” I was not at all inclined to spend the time and energy required to a) find an employee who might care about the unnecessary apostrophe (but probably not), and b) get said employee to do something about it. (I’m saving my “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice…”opener for the day when I can finish the sentence with “…that there’s a rabid wolverine in the women’s restroom.”)
The responses Jeff et al. received ranged from gratitude to complete slacker indifference to a lawsuit over the defacement of federal property. My hat is off to the members of TEAL for having the courage to take a stand against typos. The day we stop caring about proper grammar and punctuation is the day we decide it’s okay to throw gum on the sidewalk or step on another person’s foot without apologizing.
Oh, wait. Maybe we’re already there.
Do you notice mistakes? Have you ever asked to have one corrected?