Can I call it a typo if it was because of sloppy, almost non-existing penmanship? Or just general confusion or poor proofreading?

For whatever reason, as Judy Lovelace so aptly put it about my previous column: I had her mother, Eleanor Wolf Oliver, ghostwriting a bridge pamphlet 10 years after her death. In actuality, she produced the 1994 Bridge Yearbook the same year she died. “I don’t know how she did it,” Judy said. “She was in very bad health. She did it on her little college Corona typewriter.”

Perhaps I should call myself the Toad of Typos. It has a nice ring to it. One of the definitions in the dictionary is a contemptible or repulsive creature which seems a bit strong. When I looked up the spiritual meaning, however, it has an entirely different set of meanings from fertility to metamorphosis.

In any event, my former boss Keith Green used to say: “Doctors bury their mistakes; we (newspapers) print ours.” And I always seemed to like to print ’em big and bold in headlines. I embarrassed him several times, I am sure. Fortunately, he was no longer publisher of EDC when I made my most famous mistake.

I mean, how many people can claim their 15 minutes or so of fame—national fame or infamy—because of a typo?

In my defense, the issue in which it appeared had been a difficult one. Keith Green was gone. My right-hand gal who had been mentor and friend, Valerie Kimble, had left to become a student at NM Tech. The quiet, well-mannered, responsible ad man/advertising design and over-all great guy Daniel Gaines also had just left.

I know I wasn’t the only one working there but when the new advertising layout gal called in sick, I sure felt like I was. Anyway, I managed to finish the ads, do the newspaper layout—we’re talking well before the digital age of ease—and get the copy to the printer. I felt pretty good about it.

It also was in the days of endless discussions at the city council meetings over wastewater and solid waste.

And now not to confuse you but to add a bit more background to this story: I was raised in the days when sex was practically a forbidden topic. I remember that we girls in the fourth and fifth grades were shuttled off to watch a movie about our changing bodies. I don’t remember if the guys had to watch their own version but I know our movie didn’t explain very much about the sexual act.

I know my mother felt quite progressive when she gave me a book that actually gave me the details I was wanting to know. But I was curious about one thing. I think I may have actually asked my mother, or perhaps my older sister, why would they name some place so private, “public.” Obviously, I had misread “pubic.”

But that darn word has caused me problems, oh my. Particularly that EDC issue when I wrote about the meeting for the general public to comment on a proposal.

So, the newspapers went on sale and everything seemed good. All was quiet except people were coming by in droves to buy a copy. Someone finally pointed out why.

Well, of course we endured plenty of comments: “Spell check ain’t worth shirt” etc., as well as derision. But the best comment was from the former mayor Tony Jaramillo’s wife: “Dress casual; bring popcorn.”

The headline actually made the comments in the Late Night Show. I believe it was still Johnny Carson then. I didn’t see it but my grandson did and told me about it.

I wrote another headline that was the subject of a headline writing seminar. I didn’t see anything wrong with the headline and, indeed, there wasn’t any typo in it. The story, again a lead story, was about former science teacher Mary Nutt who for years led Socorro teams to victory in the Science Olympiad. The headline read: Nutt goes to Washington.

The instructor objected to it because, he said, it didn’t really identify who or what was going on. Perhaps, I thought, although anyone who has been reading the paper would know… But then he also placed it in the same category as this headline, which I think is classic:

“Nut Screws Washer, Bolts”

And that, as Paul Harvey used to say, “is the rest of the story.”

Gwen Roath, Guest Columnist