This month I’ve had two eye surgeries. All will be well, but the healing process has been slow. Let me tell you, it’s a real high-wire act to juggle printed galleys and type on a laptop while needing a heavy magnifying glass to see either.
Yesterday I was researching retirement communities for my elderly uncle and found one whose slogan I read, with my wonky eyesight, as “Pursue a Life of Hellraising!” Upon further inspection (with a stronger magnifying glass) I discovered the slogan was, disappointingly, the more banal “Pursue a Life of Belonging!” I don’t know about you, but give me hellraising any old day.
This and similar confusions reminded me of one of my favorite book series, Richard Lederer’s Anguished English collection. Lederer, an English teacher, collected and published writing gaffes to hilarious effect for many years; his books are out of print, but if you can get your hands on one somehow, I highly recommend them.
The first book, Anguished English, includes such bloopers as these, culled from newspaper articles:
The spacious home of Judge and Mrs. Clayton was the scene of a beautiful wedding last evening when their youngest daughter, Carol, was joined in holy deadlock to Mr. Fox.
Mr. Benjamin Porter visited the school yesterday and lectured on “Destructive Pests.” A large number were present.
Moby-Dick, the great American classic by Herman Melville, will be seen again next week with veteran actor Victor Jory in the title role.
Hear Paul Lucas. The complete dope on the weather.
Tonight’s PM Magazine show features restaurants that will, for a small fee, bring you breakfast in bed and Lou Ferrigno, the “Incredible Hulk.”
Mrs. Betty Larkin is poorly this spring. Her face is much missed in church, it being always there when she is able to be present.
Sure, it’s my job to fix errors like these, but sometimes I enjoy taking a moment to imagine a world where weddings feature holy deadlock, destructive pests come to hear school lectures, and Victor Jory appears in a whale costume.
Sounds like a fun place, doesn't it?
Write well and raise hell,
Best Things dwell out of Sight
The Pearl—the Just—Our Thought
Most shun the Public Air
Legitimate, and Rare—
The Capsule of the Wind
The Capsule of the Mind is.