Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Devil in the details....

I was reading a library book--I almost never buy books since I am a firm believer in libraries (even though they've taken out the card catalogs and replaced them with computers in Cheshire--I'm a sucker for a card catalog. If you know any libraries that still have them let me know and I'll go visit them). Anyway, as I was writing before I so rudely interrupted myself with that pointless aside about how much I love flipping through card catalogs--the feel of the stiff cards, the smell of the wood, the sight of so much writing I didn't know I didn't know about. I used to spend an hour or so at card catalogs, just browsing SUBJECT--Maori culture (just an example) or Titles beginning with Z or what people named Smyth had written...well, you get the idea...

But as I was trying to say about this library book: "Noah's Compass" by Anne Tyler (a typical Anne Tyler book...in Baltimore, quirky characters, musings on the meaning of it all, etc.). On page 219 right in the middle of a conversation between Ian and Jonah about the Noah's Ark story, it said "......," NOAH ASKED.

Well, of course "Noah" didn't ask anything. Noah was who Ian and Jonah were discussing. Such a weird typographical error to sneak by how many editors. But some one who read the book before I did obviously couldn't stand it and drew a dark J through the N of "Noah". Some people don't have my patience with typos.

Whoever it was must have felt a) elated to have found a typo in such a well know writer's novel; b) astonished that the editors had missed it; c) delighted to correct it and, most probably, d) not a little smug and self-righteous about the whole thing.

Lots of people love, absolutely L O V E to find typos. Over a career of church bulletins and church newsletter I really know about the zeal of the TYPO POLICE.

But here's my question: why didn't the oh-so- elated-astonished-delighted-smug Typo detector finish his/her job?

The correction read: "........" JOAH asked.

If you're going to get so hot and bothered about the N, why not move it over a letter or so and correct the whole thing: making Noah into JoNah, for goodness sake.

Well, I guess you've figured out by now that this is all the revenge of the King of typos and misspelling , a veritable nightmare for those who read bulletins and newsletters with a red pen out. This is my revenge against the Typo Police.

And boy, do I feel elated, astonished, delighted, smug and self-righteous about the whole thing.

Upon pondering, I guess it's that rush of emotions that makes otherwise kind and polite people into the Typo Police in the first place.....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.