or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, May 13, 2005


I'm sure this is true of other proofreaders: typos just leap off the page at me. I don't even have to be looking for them; I'll just be reading, or even just running my eyes over a page of text, and bang, there they are, as if they were blazing yellow with highlighter ink. It's almost distracting. Yesterday I was reading a web page and the first thing I saw was the typo "prodcut". (Of course, it's easy to make such a mistake; I regularly type "Tornoto". The difference is that I spot the mistake and fix it.)

Another thing I was reading yesterday was a magazine at the gym, a back issue of Toronto Life. On one of the last pages, the ones covered with little ads, was one for some place that offers past-life regressions, channelling, aura cleansing--you know, the usual unsupported and unmitigated bullshit. And right there at the top of the ad, just under the logo for the company, were the words, in italics:

Connet with your divine!

Evidently they can't connect you with a divine proofreader, though.


Yesterday on the way to work I saw a discarded battery package reading "Camelion". At first I read it as "camel-lion", and then I realized it must surely be a phonetic or foreign spelling of "chameleon". I thought of "camel-lion" first because an old name for the giraffe was the camelopard, which is a portmanteau of "camel" and "leopard". Well, not really. But sort of. "Camelopard" is actually "camel" plus "pard", which is an old, now discarded name for a panther: the "leo-" prefix is, obviously, related to "lion", and "leopard" evolved because what we now call a leopard was thought to be a hybrid lion/pard. If you had seen what we now call a black panther, this would be an easy mistake to make, because a panther is covered with spots, just as a leopard is, though the leopard is lion-coloured so the spots are evident, and although we think of panthers as being pure black, in fact they have black fur and black spots, or rosettes, which are visible in bright sunlight.


What else did I see on the way to work yesterday? A sign reading WAR HOUSE POSITION APPLY WITHIN. I stared at it and stared at it: War house? Really? And then I realized that a letter must have fallen off the sign, but clearly I was having an off day because I couldn't quite figure out what the letter must have been. Warm house? Wart house? Finally I got it: Warehouse. Either the letter serendipitously fell off, or someone thought it would be funny to remove it, and it was.


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