You know how a man can spot cleavage from a hundred yards away…in the fog…when he’s blind? That’s how I am with typos and bad punctuation. Unlike a man, however, I would never go to a bar called Typos and claim it has “really good wings,” so that analogy ends right here.
In my real life job, I have to deal with text on a constant basis. This has rendered my brain completely unable to pass by a misplaced apostrophe or an errant comma without making some sort of snide comment and wishing I could mark it up with red pen and send it back from wherever it came. Remember that nice, feel-good movie Akeelah and the Bee? Completely ruined for me because of one set of misplaced quotation marks. You know those home-made grave markers on the side of the highway? My sympathy was sapped when I saw “rest in peece.” The KFC near my house lost my business not because of the disgusting feather I found in my popcorn chicken but because of the sign out front that read “mash potatoes” and “warm biscuts.”
Things reached rock bottom a few years ago during a vacation to Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. A beautiful island with a wonderful history and a welcoming, kind population, it is also filled with a dozen candy shop owners hell bent on breaking me by spelling “caramel” in approximately 78 equally egregious ways. It got to the point where I had to walk down Main Street never looking left and never looking right for fear of spotting a sign for “Saturday’s Carmell Apple Fest” and having to gouge my own eyes out.
My problem is an ugly one over which I have little or no self-control. Worst of all, it makes me a hypocrite because God knows, I misspell things all the time. I’m better with punctuation, however, and think I could fairly categorize myself as AP Style’s bitch. To all the poor, long-suffering people, though, who have had to listen to me gently, and I hope politely, point out the difference between “it’s” and “its,” well, they probably just leave out that whole “AP Style” part. And you know what? I don’t care, as long as they spell it right.