Is my face red? I’m afraid so, but I hope you can find the compassion to forgive me my written errors, as well as my verbal blunders.
A few days ago, in the gym that Sharon and I attend, I was enjoying an exchange of puns, with one of my favorite punsters, Bill Benzel. It seems that all we need to take off on a verbal tangent, is for either one of us to introduce a word that cries out for punning.
We had used a word, (which I don’t recall) and massacred it in several ways, until I commented that anymore linguistic butchery of the word was “superfluous”, meaning, (as you are no doubt aware) “redundant, or unnecessary”. The problem being, I suffered a mental lapse, and mispronounced it as begs to be pronounced: “super-floo-us.”
Unfortunately for me, our trainer at the time, Jeannie, is a pre-med student, and aside from being sweet, smart, and a favorite, said: “Mike, I think the word is pronounced, “se-per-floo-es“, and if that wasn’t bad enough for my tattered ego, she added that she recalled it’s pronunciation from a “Dr. Suess” book when she was a child. I shifted gears immediately, lest Jeannie realize that she’d zinged me.
I’ve heard what can happen in the Asian mind, when loosing face. I wasn’t quite ready to commit hara-kiri, but possibly I would have; at least in a verbal sense.
When I write a column, I attempt to correct any errors before submitting the story to the Reporter-Herald editorial staff, lest Jackie Hutchins, the Local News Editor, should ferret out a written faux pas. Unfortunately, I’m much better at finding mistakes after the fact; such as on any given Friday morning when one of my columns hits the obituary page, and I do a quick post-mortem, only to find an error.
For instance, just a week or so ago, after submitting a story on my blog, I discovered when it was posted for all to see, in the caption beneath one of the photos included, I used the phrase: “in a recent trip“, when I should have used “on a recent trip.” So, I’ve been embarrassed twice in the past few weeks, and while it’s too late to correct, I dither around, wondering just what you readers must think.
I visualize a scene, possibly around your own breakfast table when an error of mine is spotted: “Honey, check this out; Mike Foley has done it again, another mangling of the English language; you know, our 9 year old, could have done better. Tsk, tsk, tsk, and to think the paper prints this stuff.” And then adds; “What is it doing to our children?”
Another error I try to avoid is using a word repetitively. I even have a sticky-note on my computer monitor that reads: “No duplications, no duplications.” I wrote the phrase twice, just in case.
I’m thinking that writing it twice, might be considered superfluous.
Imagine, corrected using a Dr. Suess story Jeannie read fifteen years ago—-and to think, he wasn’t even a doctor.
Last week’s inverted gadget, is an antique baby bottle nipple. Brian was close….Now, here’s a few gizmos, that all serve the same function. What are they?