11 June 2013

Typographically Yours

Thank goodness for the news. I feel so much better about my typos after watching this morning's news telecast. Apparently I'm not the only one who needs their tea before they start typing stuff meant for public consumption. I just learned that a man was killed today in Florida in a US 19 rash. All I can say is: Wow! That must be one serious rash if it killed a man! What kind of rash was it anyway? Road rash? Now I know what they meant to say, and it's truly tragic, but I'm an editor after all. You can't slip that kind of stuff by me, unless, of course, you're me and I'm the one typing it before my morning chai has been imbibed. I can type all kinds of nonsense and not notice it until enough time passes for several people on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + to have read it as is. Now I realize that on days when I've typed before tea that I've caused readers, on numerous occasions, to spew their lattes all over their computer screens, and as soon as I stop giggling, I'll apologize.

Of course these days, I'm causing people to spew it on themselves, since more and more people are reading their email and social networking messages on their cell phones. Let me warn you that these reading devices offer little or no protection from such oral eruptions. I don't really understand this usage of a cell phone. My Kindle Fire is about as small a screen as I care to use for reading email and news and that is possible only because I can blow it up. The text, that is, not my Kindle. Blowing up a Fire seems not only a bit redundant, but also ridiculously unnecessary.  And truly, if I wanted to read small print, I'd just grab a bottle of over-the-counter medication and try to decipher the size 1.5 font before I suffered a collapse from trying to read the instructions to the magic antidote to whatever has overcome me in the moment. Fortunately it's never anything more serious than a homeopathic remedy for eyestrain from reading tiny print. 

I have to admit though that I cannot blame tiny print for my typos. Most of the time anyway. Sometimes I make the mistake of posting on Facebook from my Kindle, which generally results in autocorrect-level typos, which are more like practical jokes than merely amusing mistakes. If you don't believe me, you have only refer to the website: http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/.  But I digress. I'll be the first to admit that even the smallest typo, such as the one on this morning's news, can completely change the complexion of what the writer meant to say. With the speed of news releases these days (and an appalling lack of proofreaders), there are terabytes of funny moments in the news, even when humor is not the purpose of that particular tidbit. I'm certain, for instance, that tears from an outburst of laughter was not the expected response to the notice about the traffic fatality on US 19, but sometimes laughter is unstoppable, and that's how it should be. Laughing is a good and healthy response to the unexpected, as long as the unexpected is not disproportionately overwhelming in a tragic way.

Laughter has been touted as the best medicine for millennia. As a wise man once said, "A merry heart worketh good, like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22) Now I'm not positive, but I suspect that dry bones would translate as osteoporosis in today's medical lingo. I'd much rather have a merry heart than dry bones any day. So I embrace my writing, typos and all. Sometimes the typos turn out to be funnier or more poetic than what I meant to write anyway. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Be careful, lest in casting out your demon you exorcise the best thing in you.” So I will embrace the typos with a chuckle, and the occasional blush, because they may turn out to be the very thing that makes readers laugh and keeps them coming back for more. I'll try my best to refrain from typing before tea, but if I mistype anyway, feel free to chuckle at my misprints. Trust me when I say that I'll be chuckling too as I correct them. I've never been above laughing at my own mistakes. As my favorite nom de plume says: "If you're not laughing at yourself, then you're just not paying attention." --Bryh Syn 

Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching, Wet Violets, and Roses Read. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.

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