Just My Typo

Just My TypoLUCKY me. I’ve really hit the jackpot when it comes to internet competitions – especially on Twitter.

Over the course of a couple of years, my loot has included such treasures as a hefty two and a half kilogram Chambers Dictionary; and Scar Tissue, the award-winning memoir of Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis – a brutally frank, eye-poppingly outrageous page-turner of a book.

Unfortunately, I fear our ongoing – and largely unreported – postal strike has scuppered my very latest wordy win: Ritual Lighting, a special edition of UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s work, illuminated with sublime calligraphic art. Weeks after I was notified, there’s still no sign of it.

I’ve also gained a tea towel! Emblazoned with a clever quote from Sandy Toksvig’s last book in a contest dreamed up by the undomesticated but erudite Danish-born author and broadcaster’s publishers, it’s among my oddest wins so far.

Almost as odd is the laser-cut necklace produced especially for me by a rather zooty English custom jewellery company and displaying that fine word “fudgel”.

“Pretending to work when you’re not actually doing anything at all,” it means, which is what I was doing when I submitted it.

The common denominator among all these goodies – apart from their obvious literary links – is that I had to enter competitions to win them. I’m quite strict with myself about such things: I won’t compete for anything that requires me to promote the prize or company in any way; and I won’t enter more than once. I answer a question and then forget about it. What will be, will be, I reckon.

Imagine my surprise then when, out of the blue, a Twitter message popped up on my computer screen a month or so ago from one Drummond Moir, editorial director of a leading UK-based literary imprint, telling me I’d won something for which I hadn’t even competed. Not that I’m complaining – it’s right up my literary lane.

“Hi Stevie,” said his message. “Thanks for tweeting about Just My Typo – you’ve won a free copy!”

So how did I win? Simply by adding “Oops” and sending on someone else’s tweet featuring a rude but funny typo from the book, it seems.

Luckily, Mr Moir’s book wasn’t caught up in the strike. It was couriered to my door – and how glad I am that it was.

Here’s a couple of my favourites so far from its entertaining collection of “typographical errors, slips of the pen, and embarrassing misprints”:

“The man blew out his brains after bidding his wife good-bye with a shotgun.” [Who says commas aren’t necessary?];

and, from the UK Times: “The queen herself graciously pissed over the magnificent edifice.”

Now I can only hope this column doesn’t fall prey to Muphry’s Law (as opposed to that of its better known, similarly named cousin):“If you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.” – Stevie Godson

(A version of this column first appeared in the Daily Dispatch newspaper)

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This entry was posted by stevieg on Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 4:13 pm and is filed under A Passion for Words . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Comment

  1. Mrs. P says:

    Don’t think for a moment that I didn’t scan this once or twice for typos. I too regret a recent typo in which I informed a customer by e-mail that I would “shit her order out on Monday”. 🙂

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