Unfortunately, wrote Carl, “The next day the Star reported Hechinger said ‘I want to know their wives.’ ”
A mistake of biblical proportions, you might say.
Carol Stutts of Rehoboth Beach, Del., said one of her favorite typos appeared in a Southern Maryland newspaper. A headline read: “[Blank] Convicted of Mans laughter.” Wrote Carol: “It’s funny how one small space can make such a difference in the meaning of a sentence.”
No kidding. The District’s Bernard Ries got a laugh from a wedding announcement that ran in The Washington Post a few years ago. It was for a high-flying couple, with high-ranking jobs and multiple residences. In other words, perfection personified. The only discordant note was this sentence: “His mother is a psycho therapist.”
A missing space can be as embarrassing as an extra one. Luci Weigel saved a copy of the Green Bay Press-Gazette from when Tommy Thompson was Wisconsin’s governor. Wrote Luci: “Thompson used his veto power aggressively, prompting the Gazette to try to run a front page, above-the-fold story bearing the headline ‘Thompson’s pen is a sword.’ Unfortunately, they left out one little space.”
I’m sure you can guess which one.
Kenneth Clark of Fairfax Station arrived at Heritage Hunt Golf & Country Club in Gainesville a few years back for a round with his buddy. A sign in the pro shop read: “We’re proud to announce that Hole #2 has been beatified.”
Because Kenneth and his friend were both raised Catholic, they were mightily impressed. “Amazingly, that morning was the only time in 40 years of playing golf that I shot an eagle,” Kenneth wrote. “Yes, on the recently beatified Hole #2.”
And that’s a nice segue to Alexandria’s Jerry Mann. After retiring from the Census Bureau, he worked several temp jobs as a writer and editor. On one assignment, at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Jerry came across these typos: a reference to “the Blessed Virgin Marv,” and a mention of the proposed “beautification” of Mother Teresa.
Wrote Jerry: “I told my supervisor, ‘I think the pope has his work cut out for him!’ ”
Eleanor Oliver lives in Cleveland Park. Needing some work done on her house, she recently got two estimates for roof repair. Wrote Eleanor: “One estimate was for slate, the original roofing material, and one was for ‘fo’ — yes, fo — slate, a less expensive look-alike.”
I wonder if it’s real fo or faux fo?
Silver Spring’s Susan R. Paisner is senior managing editor for Passenger Transport, the newspaper of the American Public Transportation Association. She said the staff is ultra-cautious when it comes to the word “public.”
Wrote Susan: “One day I was talking to a woman who worked for a public transportation agency in Pennsylvania. In Scotrun, Pennsylvania. I told my supervisor that if I had that job — with the words ‘public’ and ‘Scotrun’ always in use — I’d just live in a constant state of copy-editing anxiety.”
Karen Lyon was reading over a referral sheet for the various imaging tests offered by a local hospital. In the X-ray section, right after cervical spine and thoracic spine, was this entry: lumber spine.
Wrote Karen: “Clearly intended for those unfortunate souls who have a stick up their . . . Never mind.”
Jennifer Santley of Falls Church was at her grandson’s graduation from Sam Houston State University recently. The commencement ceremony’s printed program included a short history of the school and how it had steadily grown in size and reputation. In 1923, the text recounted, none of the faculty had earned a PhD. However, during the next five years, the college president “hired four new faulty members with doctoral degrees.”
Wrote Jennifer: “That seems to me to be a retrogressive step in their development!”
Some mistakes aren’t typos, just odd juxtapositions. Take, for example, the sign Alan Young saw at a grocery store in Charles Town, W.Va.: “Great kosher wines to enjoy your Lent holidays!!!”
To read previous columns by John Kelly, go to washingtonpost.com/johnkelly.