So furiously hectic was our launch week in New York– and so ludicrous has our schedule continued to be– that it is only now that I can fill you in on a missing adventure of ours in Mannahatta. There were many strange incidents and episodes that took place that week during the initial promotion of our book, and the time we spent typo-hunting with a reporter from the New York Post certainly counted as disquieting, mostly because the article never surfaced. Had our journalist friend been too disturbed by her glimpse into the dark heart of the city’s orthography? I imagine by now, two weeks after the fact, that we’ll never see the piece, so I’ll just go ahead and report the results of that hunt.
It was a broiling afternoon, like most afternoons that week, but the heat and humidity had no effect on the usual New York rustle and bustle in midtown. We started to peruse the city’s text a few blocks away from our publisher’s building, and soon enough came upon a modest vendor stand with the following signage in its side window:
The Typo Correction Kit had saved the day! Here was the old spirit of the mission, helping people when we could and then moving on gracefully. Well, all right, maybe grace would not always attend our interactions– maybe it had never been a reliable visitor in the first place. We recalled this when we found our next quarry, spotting a typo in one of the many outposts of the drugstore Duane Reade:
Clearly this text required a small alteration on at least its end. But the management became leery about our party, especially with a seasoned cameraperson along, and the discussion rapidly turned toward placating the pharmacy don rather than sealing a correction deal. We had to leave that one to the care of others.
After a few more investigations, including a dead-end conversation with a man about his unorthodox rendering of the word “T-shirt” in front of his store, we found ourselves in front of the chain restaurant T.G.I. Friday’s. One of its front doors had a curious omission. It wasn’t like the apostrophe had been scraped off; it just had never been there in the first place.
Naturally we wanted the doors to match, and to accurately reflect the brand of the restaurant, so we headed in to ask the waitstaff. Their boss wasn’t around, so they hesitated to give us permission to fix the mistake, but then one of them relented and said that he thought it’d be all right. Thus I went to the door and started to draw in the apostrophe.
Suddenly someone started to shout angrily into my ear. Startled, I turned to see the boss of the place, who’d surfaced after all and was not happy about what I was doing. He might have listened to reason if the Post hadn’t been with us, but then again, probably not. We were shooed away from the premises, leaving behind half an apostrophe, surely a lesser aesthetic creation than if he’d simply permitted me to finish the job.
All in all, not an extremely effective hunt, but certainly a representative one, particularly since we have shunned stealth corrections for good. The percentages will not be promising, but hewing to the mission is critical.