Its (sic) a sign of the times

I had to laugh at the quote on the cover of our sister publication last week.
“What are they, the grammar police?” one woman asked The Towne Crier of the Village of Liberty’s much maligned sign commission.
Well, yeah.
Although the story’s gotten play in both the Democrat and the Crier, I have to plead ignorance on all the details.
People are mad. The committee is fighting back.
That’s all I know.
The whys and wherefores I don’t have down, and I don’t profess to know how size, shape or color have impacted the landscape in Liberty.
So here’s where I can weigh in: I know all about the grammar police.
A slip of my fast-typing fingers has earned me a letter to the editor or two in my nearly decade long reporting career.
And well it should.
Poor grammar in the newspaper, poor spelling on a permanent sign – they’re as blatant as a dunce cap.
Here at the newspaper, we have proofreaders who are charged with reading our work before it hits the front page.
Their job is to act as a second set of eyes, to make up for my tendency to think faster than I type and for spell check’s failure to pick out “pubic” where “public” belongs.
When they do their jobs, they save a lot of us a whole world of embarrassment.
You can see why I’d delight in a group of grammar police at the ready.
Apostrophe’s in the wrong place?
Well, thanks for noticing. I’ll move it one character to the left.
“I” before “E,” except after “C”? Good catch – that “receive” gets me every time.
A dear friend who once did a stint as an advertising representative winces every time he’s reminded of the full page “hug”sale he once ran for a car dealership.
Personally, I still get a bit itchy behind the ears when I recall the time I referred to the Callicoon population as “having dissimilar pairs of genes for any hereditary characteristic” rather than the more appropriate “consisting of dissimilar elements or parts” when I typed “heterozygous” in place of “heterogenous.”
I know, I know. As a Callicoon native, I’m proud to come from a town where the entire population doesn’t share one gene pool!
That was four years ago, in one article.
Most of you have forgotten it by now.
Imagine if I’d paid $1,000 for the wrong word to be painted on the sign inviting folks into my business.
That’s one big mistake.
You could have driven by it this morning. You haven’t forgotten.
Now what if your kid saw it?
How do you explain the need to study his spelling list when he passes at least five different signs on his way to school with glaring errors?
“Singles support group meats here Thursdays at nite.”
“Eat at Charlies’ Place.”
“Open weakdays accept Sunday.”
If you don’t think anything’s wrong with that picture, let me ask you something.
Do you think those grammar police need to drive their patrol car into your hometown?

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