Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Transcending time

One day last week when I walked to the place where I was going to eat lunch I encountered a closed door and a sign on the door (which appeared to have been prepared on a computer and printed on an inkjet printer) that read "Temporally closed."

For a second I thought about snapping a photo with my phone but instead just turned and walked to some other restaurant a couple blocks away. There was something about resisting the impulse to document what appeared a clear malapropism (or perhaps spell check switch, as a computer appeared to have been involved) that seemed… not admirable, by any means, but at least a step in something of a better direction; undoubtedly there's always going to be unnoticed errors that I'll encounter, and particularly with these where there'd be no possibility of an editor to have proofed, it wasn't worth expending a moment's disappointment. Even a tiny condescending amusement was undeserved.

That sometimes people I don't know misspell words or choose terms that aren't what they mean should not be something that warrants me being irked even to the slightest degree. It's a losing battle to think they'll ever stop—heck, I'm sure there will be instances where I fail to notice my own errors until after someone else has pointed them out; I have no ground for standing on some hypothetical high ground of error-free rhetorical existence.

In this case, for all I know, the person intended "temporally" in the sign (and not the presumed "temporarily"), signifying that the establishment was closed in time—which would not be inaccurate, technically speaking.

We think we're so smart, but perhaps the greatest display of intelligence is not getting the words right but not being bothered when others get the words wrong.


  1. But sometimes you have to comment or you allow bad spelling and grammar have too much sway. I'm not a fervent grammar Nazi but c'mon -- I can't let it pass when I see signs like ALL BUSINESSES WELLCOME, INFORMOTION BOOTH, and my favorite, PERSONAL CHECKS NOT EXCEPTED. People are paid to create such embarrassments?

    Such goofs deserve to be pointed out, especially in a newspaper. Did you know that on May Day black clad demonstrators in Seattle used sticks to small windows? Or that after a shuttle disaster NASA poured over a report's findings (that was a front page headline).

    Yes, I make mistakes but I take the time to look over my stuff and try to spot errors. And if a stupid typo slips through, I appreciate it when someone politely tells me about it. I will go back and fix it. Compare that to local newspaper employees who get paid for their work, unlike this blogger. It's pretty bad when someone who creates for free has higher standards than the so-called professionals.

    BTW, since digital photography is so popular, should you toos your film away (a point raised years ago in a local newspaper headline)?

  2. "...or you allow bad spelling and grammar to have too much sway."

    Well, at least I went back and caught that one...


So, what do you think?