Having a slight obsession with grammar, I am always on the lookout for fun and entertaining spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. When I find such a thing, I document it (if possible).
Why, just last week I nearly drove off of the road for such a thing. It was garbage day in the neighborhood I was driving through. People had their garbage bins all lined up along the side of the road (a moderately busy road, mind you). In this area, you must distinguish your general run-of-the-mill garbage from your compost on the outside of your bin. This is usually done by painting the word "compost" or some such thing on the outside of the bin so the guys know which to bother with at the time.
But this day I was to see such a sight that has never been seen (by me, anyway). A sight that would forever be burned into the minds of those who had beheld it - a wonder of wonders. I saw a garbage bin with large yellow lettering that said,
Are there ever TRULY any words to express what goes through one's mind when such a thing is witnessed? My 8 year-old asked me, "What does that even mean?" Usually for me it is something along the lines of, "Oh wonder of wonders, they did NOT just do that. That is AMAZING! Children, LOOK! Look at the horror!! We're drivivng too fast to take a picture! Shall we turn around?" And then I feel the pressing urge to knock on their door just to get a glance at what kind of special person they are so that my mind can conceive the depths of how this would be possible. I want to ask if they are one of the people who were educated in the illustrious Detroit public schools (and therefore have a 50% chance of being illiterate).
Well. It's not just on garbage cans, love. Yesterday there was a storm and the sirens were going off so I flicked on the tube to see if we were having a run of the mill storm or a tornado. After they reported that we were just indeed having a severe storm, they had a piece about how Magic Johnson was criticizing Donald Sterling (you know, the guy who they are going to force to sell his NBA team for making private comments to his girlfriend in his own home?) for his opinion on HIV/AIDS (now I like Magic - he went to the best college in the nation and everything, but the fact is that he got HIV from sleeping around with so many women while playing in the NBA: not a very upstanding background). The caption read,
"Magic Johnson cricizes Sterling".
I couldn't decide - do I take a picture of it? If I run to the other room to get a camera, will the caption be gone? Should I just keep reading it aloud and staring at the wonder? I was frozen as if in front of an accident. The caption cleared off of the screen and I ran to do what I usually do in such a situation. Write an email.
Dear _______ (news people),
Perhaps you are unaware, but during your piece about Magic, the caption contained a misspelling of the word "criticize".
Not to criticize... ;)
Of course there are many hard-working writers and producers scrambling to write an incredible amount of news each day. Having produces newscasts for nearly 25 years, I know each strives to be letter perfect.
Believe me, no one is more aghast at any misspellings than the one who made the typo.
Me: Did he just write "having produces"? Should I correct that? Putting bets on Mr. Producer* as the editor of captions... I never knew news could be so entertaining!
(* Names have been changed to protect the reputation of Detroit public schools.)
Keep your eyes open and your brain clear of pesticides!
Peace, love and entertainment,