Friday, March 26, 2010

The Typoman Cometh

I would like to wage war against typos. Be on notice: this is the moment my internal campaign goes public. I abhor typos, nearly as much as I detest grammatical errors. The question of whether typos or grammatical errors are worse is a personal one for us all. Is an indifferent shrug or lack of attention paid to how words are supposed to be spelled better or worse than a painfully ignorant attempt to employ grammatical techniques, even if done horribly wrong? This debate of mine speaks to my favorite mood-brightening blog, the brilliant "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. I mean, really, this blog is the stuff of magic:

I can scan my eyes across a page of print and see the its/it's and you're/your errors in an instant. This happens so often, in fact, that I sometimes think typos and bad grammar possess a magnetic pull toward my line of vision. They are everywhere. Oh, and commas? I like them. When they are used properly. Enough said. But I digress with the bad grammar; the focus here today is typos.

Know that I do not recuse myself from this indictment. When I catch a typo in something I've written, I want to plunge my head into a vat of boiling water. Typos seem to happen far more on this chatty little blog project of mine than in my "real" writing (note correct use of quotation mark signaling sarcasm), which I think speaks less about my devaluing of said blog project and more about my general frenzied mental state these days. I explain all of this to ask a series of questions:

Wouldn't you agree that our social security numbers are our most important piece of identification when it comes to data?

Yes? Me too! Okay then:

Wouldn't you agree that anyone who's ever lasted one day as a college freshman will forever have their social security number seared into their brain, that it's one of those numbers that is simply impossible to forget even if numbers aren't your thing, like pi equaling 3.14?

So glad we're on the same page! Now, then:

What kind of person not only doesn't know their social security number front and back, but actually gets it wrong when filing their taxes, a time when crucial items of identification are not only on the brain, but likely spread out on a table before them?

What I'm asking here is:

How in the world does someone make a TYPO in their SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER on their TAXES?

I mean REALLY?!, right? Now the obvious question:

Can this person's typo be construed as a personal vendetta against my preference for conscious typing and IRS-funded European vacations?

Imagine our household happily skipping along, planning our European getaway and eagerly awaiting the funds designated to pay for said getaway. Until, oops, what's this note from the IRS? It says we have already filed taxes, and therefore our latest return cannot be accepted? Because one of our social security numbers has already been used?! Because someone probably made a typo on their tax form? A typo on their SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER? A typo that turned their social security number into, oops, ONE OF OURS?

Fun, fun, fun over here!

On Monday we will get to experience the joy of going to the IRS headquarters to discuss this matter with a friendly agent, one who I expect will share my disdain for typos and the people who make them. I'll be sure to report which medieval torture device will be used to exert punishment upon the errant tax filer.

In the meantime, we are off to Philadelphia for the weekend to see a tribute to one of my all-time heroes, the late Molly Ivins. When I'm reporting next week on the punishment reserved for folks who make typos on the single most important detail of their identification, I'll also be sure to note whether Kathleen Turner's voice is as wonderfully raspy on stage as it appears on screen.

Happy weekend, everyone. Get those social security numbers of yours straight, why don't you?


  1. Word, or should I say, "word". Though I don't profess my grammar or punctuation to be anything near perfect, seeing typos like that plunges my inner English minor into despair.

    Best of luck with the tax man, by the way. What an awful piece of luck to have to deal with a typo like that.

  2. I am a horrible typist, and subsequently my missives are full of typos. Especially when I get excited about something. However, taxes are not one of those things. Spelling is what drives me nuts.

    Hope everything goes well at the IRS. What a dipshit!

  3. I share your disdain for typos, incorrectly used quotation marks, and IRS troubs. Good luck!

  4. Confession via Comment: Proper use of the comma eludes me. I find myself constantly questioning whether a comma is appropriate, required or unnecessary. This personal shortcoming frustrates me to no end. Do they make Commas for Dummies?

  5. Ack. That is all I have to say about that. ACK. I imagine keeping in mind Molly's coda about raising hell might help matters?

    Also, report back re: Red Hot Patriot. I'm thinking of taking myself on a pre-wedding date to Philly for that very reason.

  6. Oh man. That's awful about your SS #s and your taxes. I think I would cry.

    PS- Your EU vacation looks amazing!

  7. The only time I can understand this happening is if, say, you are sixteen and memorized your SSN incorrectly. Then maybe filled out your tax forms at the bakery where you work with said incorrect SSN. And then got a scary letter in the mail with words like FRAUD. and JAIL. and YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON, LEARN HOW TO MEMORIZE.

    (not that that happened to me)

    good luck!!

  8. Okay, that comment just made my day. Thank you!!!

  9. I'm a long time stalker. You are one of the funniest writers I read on a daily basis. I completely agree with your disgust over typographical errors. I am also not immune to them but it's amazing what a little proof reading will do.

    And I'm also a tried and true Carolina Blue girl! Welcome back to the East Coast.

  10. OH goodness! Sorry about taxes issue - I can't believe someone would submit with the wrong SSN. Almost as hard to believe as someone turning in their return info and waiting patiently for the check only to get a letter back mentioning that YOU FORGOT TO SIGN THE BOTTOM OF THE FORM YOU DUMMY! Ugh.

  11. Oh no!! I'm so sorry about the SSN snafu!
    I never knew how to use "whom" vs. "who". Whom is the object and Who is used as a subject??

    I can't stand the "alot" typo. Two words people!

  12. I make punctuation mistakes on occasion, but NEVER UNNECESSARY QUOTATIONS. My whole post today was actually going to be a photo of a really ridiculous sign with unnecessary quotations, but I deleted it on accident.

  13. SSN thing = holy.crap. Hope it gets figured out quickly :)


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