Hodgepodge: August 4, 2012

by Roy Hodge

I have often wondered about the little person or persons who seem to live somewhere inside my computer’s keyboard.

Here’s the scenario: I sit down at the keyboard with a pretty good idea of what I am going to do for my next column. I have a plan in my head and I often also have two or three sheets of scribbled notes to supplement the plan I have in my head.

I wrote the above paragraph a few days ago and looking at it now I’m not sure where I was trying to get with it. Let me think about it. I guess where the little “gremlins” at work inside my keyboard might come into play is when a perfectly reasonable word which makes sense in the sentence in which it is used, turns into anything but – affectionately known to us who make them as “typos.”

It is very difficult after writing “Hodgepodge” for 33-1/2 years not to have at least mentioned many subjects that I think about in another column sometime along the way. It is also convenient at times to repeat a portion of a column, or even an entire column from another time.

Such is the case with the topic at hand:

I have mentioned before in this space one of The Patriot’s classic typos – including recently when I was discussing one of our favorite Fulton Patriot comrades – Eleanor LaPointe, and her proofreading skills.

From Hodgepodge, August 11, 1981: “Most of the time the proofreaders are sharp-eyed and attentive. Most of the time…but there are those days when the fingers go astray and the eyes blink momentarily. Like the time when The Patriot reported that State Assemblyman John Zagame had declared that most of the county’s brides had become obsolete. Actually, Zagame had just toured the county’s bridges – which he thought were getting older than they should be.

“There was also the time that it was reported that a local family reunion was hell. It would have been sufficient just to note that the reunion had been held.”

The following was also included in that column:

“The typographic error is a slippery thing and sly – You can hunt till you are dizzy, but it somehow will get by.

“Till the forms are off the presses, it is strange how still it keeps; It shrinks down in a corner and it never stirs or peeps.

“The typographic error is too small for human eyes, Till the ink is in the paper, when it grows to mountain size.

“The boss, he stares with horror, then grabs his hair and groans; The copy reader drops his head upon his hands and moans.

“The remainder of the issue may be as clean as clean can be – But that typographic error is the only thing you see.”

It must be those “little people” inside the computer’s keyboard that I was thinking about that might be responsible for those dreaded “typos.”

While thinking  and reading about typing misprints, typographic errors, “typos,” and other things which seem to reside at the tips of  my fingers, my mind kept wandering…

I have been known to make errors while writing or typing – those are truly typographic errors or “typos.” But then, too, there are the many times that I make errors, not when I am writing or anyplace near a typewriter, but when I am talking.

That’s when my mind started asking questions – should these miscues be known and registered as “mouthographic errors – or mouthos”?

Think about it – but not too long or hard.

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