• mebcrussell

A PEEK AT THE PROCESS

I'm an excellent speller. Until about the age of 65 I had a photographic memory for individual words. If I'd seen a word once, I could spell it. I never had to wonder if a word ended in -ant or -ent, and I always got the sequence of vowels right in words like "acetaminophen" and :"Olajuwon." From kindergarten through college I misspelled only one word, "murmur," which I rendered "murmer," probably because of its similarity to "murder." Nowadays I'm not quite the letter-perfect speller I used to be, but still much better than average.

Alas, when I sit down at the keyboard my prowess as a speller means nothing, because I am the world's worst typist. I spend twice as much time typing as I should have to, because I spend half my time correcting typos.

There are two ways to produce a typo. Sometimes a finger just hits the wrong key. Other times a finger strikes weakly, the key doesn't depress, and there is a missing letter as a result. Most typos are meaningless nonwords, but occasionally a typo produces a real word--not the word intended, mind you, but a real word just the same. These unintended words change the meaning of a sentence, with results that range from plain blah, through mildly amusing, all the way to knee-slapping hilarious.

Here are some of my gems.

". . . the castle's normal wok schedule . . ." (Obviously a Chinese castle.)

"Her hat was in her mouth the whole time."

"Stablehand" became "tablehand." (A new name for a bus boy?)

"Friendship" became "fried hip." (Most people say "flank steak.")

"A victim of fate" became "a victim of fat." (Been there.)

"The host lord" became "the hot lord." (Well, he was!)

And my masterpiece: "The mission commander leaned over his shoulder and peed more closely at the screen."


Join me next Friday to see another sample of text from REDISCOVERED.

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