by Father Mark Goldasich
“No parking aloud.”
I got a good laugh out of seeing this sign in “I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar,” by Sharon Eliza Nichols.
Well, I shouldn’t have been so amused at the above error. Little did I know that, on Oct. 4, a similar mistake would find its way into the pages of The Leaven. Did you catch it? A few readers did and brought it to our attention.
Naturally, the error was on the front page, in a headline, and in BIG letters. The story was about Joyce DiDonato, an internationally famous mezzo-soprano, who visited her alma mater, St. Ann School in Prairie Village. The headline read: “Here Me Roar.” If you say it out loud or sound it out in your head, it seems fine. But when you look at it closely, it doesn’t make any sense.
Yes, I was done in by a homophone — words that are pronounced the same, but have different spellings and very different meanings. Obviously, the correct word for that headline was “hear,” not “here.” Since I don’t like to do anything in a mediocre fashion when it comes to The Leaven, it’s fitting that some 52,000-plus readers saw my slip-up. Seeking to salve my wounded pride, I went in search of others in the newspaper business and elsewhere who have publicly embarrassed themselves. It didn’t take long to find some fellow flubbers:
• A couple of (former?) street department workers wanted to keep citizens safe by painting SOTP and SHCOOL at intersections. Guess they figured this might get people to notice, more than the “traditional” spelling of these words.
• A sign for the village of Crestwood had this to say: “English is our language. No excetions. Learn it.” I hope the citizens there took their own advice.
• A flyer for a weight loss program posted on a telephone pole wanted 75 peaple.
• A political ad in the last presidential campaign suggested a particular candidate for A Better Amercia.
• Residents who drive the roads of Los Angeles should have been very comforted by a sign touting road improvements that read: Your Tax Dallors At Work.
• A school in Pentucket, Mass., no doubt needs educational help as its sign outside reads: Support Pentucket Scolarship Fund.
• An ad in a newspaper offered help for underachieving students through “A Guide to Pinpointing Your Child’s Leaning Problems.”
• A newspaper (maybe at Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?) had this mangled headline: Championdip plague presented.
• Another newspaper ran this memorable correction: “Henninger’s band mate Eric Lyday ‘was on drugs,’ should have read ‘was on drums.’”
• A newspaper article boasted the following headline: “Want to spell like a champ? Read Wenster’s dictionary.”
• And perhaps the person who wrote this headline read that dictionary above: “Missippi’s literacy program shows improvement.”
Sadly, no one is immune to the mistake bug. A couple of weeks ago, the Vatican had to yank from the shelves some 6,000 medals marking the pontificate of Pope Fran- cis. The front featured the pope; the reverse side had a rendering of Jesus calling St. Matthew, a favorite Scripture passage of Pope Francis. Unfortunately, the Italian state mint made a “little” error in the Latin wording around the scene: Jesus was spelled “Lesus.” While some blamed the error on the “Lesuits,” Jesuit author Father Jim Martin wondered in a tweet “how Mary’s husband Loseph feels about it.”
Mistakes will happen in life, no matter how careful we are. And many of those, thank God, are not that big a deal. Rather than beating ourselves up over being
less than perfect, we should take to heart the soothing advice of St. Jane Frances de Chantal: “No matter what happens, be gentle with yourself.”
Still, I pledge to watch out for those homophones in the future, because you can never be two careful, rite? Occasionally, though, won mite slip inn. And wen that happens, theirs nothing ewe can due about it.