Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Give Me A Dow For A Boomerday...

Since moving to Arkansas, I have taken up a new hobby of reading newspaper classified ads. This always is a good way to learn about those smaller matters of life that seldom hit the major newswires. The Arkansas Democrat/Gazette is a top-notch state-wide newspaper published in Little Rock. Following are examples of some of the ads I have seen in that paper.

“Bridle Gown for sale. Cheap.” Of course we know that they mean “Bridal Gown” unless this was a bridal gown for a horse. But spell checkers on computers will not catch these types of errors. That’s why typos can be so embarrassing at times.

How about this one. “Jack Terrier Dog for sell. Very friendly. Not good with chickens.” Doesn’t this gem just seem to tell a story?

See if you can figure out the story told by this ad. “Wedding ring set worth
$ 5,100 will trade for boat, motor and trailer.”

“Will trade my Ford 1988 ambulance for a Honda 300 4-wheel drive ATV, in good shape.” Seems like it would make more sense to trade a 4-wheel drive ATV for an ambulance.

How about this? “Will trade hater mermaid for something of equal value.” My wife says that should read “halter mermaid.” Either way, I’m dumbfounded.

I have seen numerous ads from cemetery space owners wanting to sell their plots through the classifieds. This is well and good except that the paper persists in spelling the word, “cemetary.” Actually there is no such word. Look it up. The correct spelling is “cemetery. I work at a cemetery so am particularly sensitive to this miscue.

Here is one that continues to run nearly every day. “Man, 50 yrs old seeking white female between 50-100 . The coffee pot is on.” I cannot imagine what this is all about and most likely am better off never knowing.

Sometimes ads tend to mix together under the wrong categories. For example this one appeared recently under the heading “Musical Instruments For Sale.” The list included, “one clarinet, one trombone, two trumpets, one drum set and two refrigerators.” I wondered if those refrigerators came with carrying cases?

And how about this one? “Accordion for sale. Old. Works great. Has lots of buttons.” You know a full accordion has 120 buttons but I guess the seller just didn’t bother to count.

Just to be fair to the Arkansas Gazette, I recall seeing the following in the Beaumont Enterprise years ago. It stated, “Chester Drawers for sell.” I’ve always wondered if he ever sold them.

Back in the 1950s, the Circle Drive-in Theater in Beaumont ran an ad stressing casualness. But it came across as, “Don’t bother to dress…come on out for an evening of fun.” No comment.

There is a sign down the highway a piece from our house here in Arkansas that reads, “Hurricane Lake Mobile Home Park.” Now the thing about the sign is that none of the locals think there is anything unusual with this. When I joke about it, they look at me like, “why did the turnip truck dump that guy off here?” But think about it. When you have just encountered Hurricanes Ike and Rita, not to mention Katrina, you most certainly would not choose to live in a mobile home close to anything called Hurricane Lake. Ironically some two years ago, a tornado ripped right through this mobile home park. Fortunately no one was killed. But I’ll wager there’s no way they would ever name that area, “Tornado Alley Mobile Home Park.” I guess it’s all based on where you’ve been and what you’ve done.

I’ve made many more than my share of typos. But it’s still fascinating to see what can go wrong with words.

Winston Hamby


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