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David Carroll’s News and Notes: Enjoy Your Brake

David Carroll

As you may read elsewhere, I have just published a new humor book. It’s called, “I Won’t Be Your Escape Goat: David Carroll’s Ho Made Social Media Blunders.” Personally signed copies are available for $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping at ChattanoogaRadioTV.com, or at my mailing address at the end of this column. This is the story that started it all:

There are many things I don’t do well. For starters, there’s swimming, car repair, and working with any technology introduced after the Bush administration (the first one).

But instead of burdening you with my shortcomings, I will focus on something in which I take pride: spelling.

I’m always shaking my head at misspelled church signs (“Don’t give in to Satin”), and resisting the temptation to correct my Facebook friends (“All the Falcons do is loose”).

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I drive by a school sign that reads, “Enjoy Your Spring Brake” or a store that invites you to “Transfur Your Prescriptions.”

I often think about the guy in the highway sign department who had one job, and ended up putting this sign on the road: “Yeild to Oncoming Traffic.”

Before Facebook and texting, we didn’t know if our friends were good spellers. Now we know. “You’re” becomes “Your,” especially in my all-time favorite Facebook post, “Your a idiot.” That dude just lost his argument.

Spell check, which didn’t exist back in the day, is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing when you just don’t have time to look up commonly misspelled words like criticize, accidentally, or embarrass. As in, “That know-it-all David Carroll sure likes to criticize and embarrass me when I accidentally misspell a word!”

But spell check can be a curse when it substitutes a correctly spelled word for the word you actually intend to use. If you’re complaining about the head of the school, spell check can’t help you if you write, “That mean principle kept my son after school.” It also didn’t help the person who offered this opinion about a superintendent search: “I hope they get a good one this time, because the steaks are really high.” (It was hard to argue with that one, because steaks really are expensive.) Or the proud mom who posted a new baby picture: “Look at my precious little angle.”

Sometimes we know how to spell, but we get in a hurry. One of the most important jobs in a TV newsroom is the graphics operator, the person who puts the words on the screen. It could be a statement from an elected official, or merely the name of the person who is on screen. We once had a guest who called himself “The Singing Cowboy.” Unfortunately, the graphics person made one little mistake. He typed in, “The Sinning Cowboy.” Come to think of it, that may have encouraged some viewers to pay closer attention.

There are words we just make up, because we didn’t quite hear them right. That would explain why some people think that the small cart with one wheel and two handles is a “wheel barrel.” It almost makes sense.

It’s not all the fault of spell check, of course. I can’t blame anyone but the author when I read that Uncle Fred is about to undergo a quadroople bypass. Or when a teenage girl brags about the pleasing scent her boyfriend is wearing: “I just love his colon.”

I’ve stopped rolling my eyes when someone excitedly invites me to enjoy the fall colors: “Hurry and enjoy the scenery, it’s peek season!” I must admit, I do want to take a peek. Same goes when our weather forecaster gets asked about winter temperatures. “How low is the windshield factor?” Well, that may determine how long it will take to scrape off the ice in the morning.

And, there’s this. I saw a sign directed at employees behind a customer service counter. “No Talking Aloud On Cell Phones, or You Will Be Wrote Up.” Where do I even begin?

So kids, study hard, and become a proficient speller. Maybe you’ll end up as the top student of your senior class. And I don’t mean the “valid Victorian.”