I don’t know why, but typographical errors make me absolutely batty.  There are very, very few things that get me sufficiently steamed that I would find pleasure in kicking a hole clean through a stained glass window, but you can count typos among them.

It might have something to do with the fact that I used to edit a literary magazine, or that I used to run the classified ads and create display ads for a newspaper.  I don’t know.  If anything, it’s probably the other way around:  I wound up editing and running things because I get uptight about things like typos.  Sounds silly, I know, but everybody has their own little areas of OCD.

I’m most sorely aggrieved by my own blunders (of which there are plenty).

It’s a weird phenomenon, and it breaks down, more or less, thus:

  • Hey, look at that:  I left out an apostrophe!  Good thing I proofread it before going global.
  • I’m an idiot for leaving out an apostrophe.
  • Oh God, what else did I screw up?
  • Here we go again.
  • This is kind of fun.

That, however, is the life that I have chosen, and I’m pretty well stuck with it.  I’ve almost come to terms with it, and I’m okay about that.  Honest.

The thing that really takes the pleats out of my kilt is repeated and/or public typos.

I’ll give you a few examples:

  • I went to pick up a cake one day, for the honor of a kid who was graduating from high school.  His school colors were red and white.  So I picked up, from the local bakery, a red cake with white frosting letters on the top, saying “CONGRATUTIONS!”
  • Any time that any business has to shut down for the day, or that they run out of something, I can pretty well guarantee you that there’ll be a sign somewhere which includes the phrase “We apologize for the inconvience.”
  • Finally, here are the words taped to a gas pump at one of my local service stations.  I present it to you verbatim:  “dear valuble customer currently credit card is not working at gus pump please use your card in siad store sorry for in conveniente store, Thynk you.”

Drives me nuts.

In my mind, the most forgivable of the three is the last one.  I know for a fact that if I decided, for whatever reason, to up and move to Karachi or wherever, I’d be at a total loss to write anything Karachi-ish.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  At least he’s trying, and he seems to have a pretty good head-start.

The other two, if you ask me, are unforgivable, yet they happen all the time.

I know, I know.  I shouldn’t go around whacking stones at people when I am not without sin.  Trust me, I’ve made more typos than Carter’s got pills (ask your grandmother to explain that reference, if necessary).

When I was in graduate school, one of my professors–can’t remember her name, but she was very nice–told me that I suffered from “a pretty severe case of digital metathesis,” which was her overly polite way of telling me that I couldn’t type worth a hoot and screwed everything up.

“‘Euceminalc’?  What does that mean?”

“Oh, sorry.  That’s supposed to say ‘ecumenical.'”

“Ah.  Now it makes sense.”

For the life of me, I cannot keep double consonants straight.  Here’s a quick list of words that baffle me by their spelling, some of which, no doubt, are misspelled:

  • misspelled
  • sherrif
  • fettuccinne
  • broccoli
  • accommodate
  • spaghetti

Good thing I’m not a commodious Italian deputy with an appetite.  I’d be well up a creek.

My only savior is my sage daddy’s advice, which I probably heard about 462 million times:  “There’s a dictionary, right over there.  Use it.”