August 23, 2008
When pictures of the author of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves surfaced, showing Lynne Truss fixing the punctuation in the Two Weeks’ Notice movie marquis, I was tempted to carry whiteout and a Sharpie in my purse. It would be fun to help the world communicate better. I mean, hey, I make typos, too, and I appreciate it when people help me clean up my words. How noble it would be to help others that make mistakes and errors of ignorance!
It seems that I was not the only one inspired to good deeds. Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson challenged the country to the 2008 Typo Hunt Across America, sponsored by TEAL (Typo Eradication Advancement League):This March through May, we, sworn members of TEAL, will be taking a road trip around the country to stamp out as many typos as we can find, in public signage and other venues where innocent eyes may be befouled by vile stains on the delicate fabric of our language. We do not blame, nor chastise, the authors of these typos. It is natural for mistakes to occur; everybody will slip now and again. But slowly the once-unassailable foundations of spelling are crumbling, and the time has come for the crisis to be addressed. We believe that only through working together with vigilance and a love of correctness can we achieve the beauty of a typo-free society.
The itinerary is as follows:
•Whole of March: From Boston to San Diego, via the steamy South
•Much of April: Up the West Coast
•Late April – Mid-May: From Seattle, through the Northern plains and mighty lakes, to New England once again
(from www.jeffdeck.com/teal, which is now only available in a cached version)
Their travels came to an untimely end when they decided to “fix” a sign that was a historic landmark in the Grand Canyon. Documenting their permanent marker and whiteout repair on their website, Deck and Herson led federal prosecutors right to them, and they were charged for vandalizing government property. They pled guilty, and they were fined to pay for the restoration of the sign. (Will they fix the typo?)
The worst is that they are banned from national parks for a year! That is traumatic. I love national parks. I think I’ll keep my Sharpie in my purse.