Monday, October 1, 2012

Waking Up Dead

In preparing for two comedy presentations in October, I find that I am laughing out loud, even at material I have read before--a healthy thing to do. I hope our audience is equally amused. . . .Especially by the program called "Fractured English," a collection of amazing, often hilarious blunders and bloopers from students and many others: sign makers, printers of menus, hotel owners, newspaper editors, and more. . . . Even from the medical world, reminding me of Mark Twain's quip: Be careful of a book giving health advice. You might die of a misprint. . . . Thanks to Richard Lederer and his great books (Anguished English), as well as the internet, I have unearthed a few bloopers from the medical profession. My favorites from doctors' files: "The patient refused an autopsy." Another(from coroner's report): "Patient went to bed well but woke up dead. Cause of death unknown, had never been fatally ill before.". . . . I don't think such things can be fabricated. . . . Like everyone else, I have made many typos (not, as one student wrote in a recent email, "Type-O's") but none are funny enough to share. . . .In the days I had many papers to grade, I would be grateful for any glimmer of humor in a student essay or exam....Like the student (not mine) who thought Michelangelo had painted sixteen chapels in the Vatican; as if lying on his back for years to paint the Sistine Chapel was not enough! . . . . A Facebook group, formed by Sharon Nichols, has many followers, I am glad to say, concerned enough about careless editing to take pictures of signs and other public displays of mistaken English: my favorite sign from this group: "Please knock. Buzzard is not working.".....If I start listing the bloopers made by politicians in the past 50 years, I will be writing all night......Suffice it to say that our language easily lends itself to errors and that we can get a much-needed laugh from the innocent errors of others without ridiculing the person. "To err is human..." Of course, I could connect this to the point of a recent post: hurrying is the cause of much carelessness and confusion.

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