SELL: Criminals or crusaders for the saviour of the English language – could a cell of the Typo Eradication Advancement League be coming to a sign near you?
As a fan of futile activities, I say all hail to the Typo Eradication Advancement League, or TEAL for short. This dynamic duo of two 28-year-old typo vigilantes spent their spring break correcting government and private signs across the USA in order to prevent the downfall of the English language.
Unfortunately for poor Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, their subbing of a 60-year-old handpainted sign at Grand Canyon national park has landed them in hot water [cliche: delete] up on vandalism charges. FWAP! And this week, they’ve been ordered to cough up a whacking $3,035 (KERPOW!) to repair the sign, as well as being put on probation for a year (ZAP!) and banned from national parks (meh!).
Oh the split loyalties! Criminal damage versus correcting misplaced apostrophes… I suspect that while the court sentence may put paid to TEAL in its current format, the movement may be driven underground. Judging by the fallout on various forums – here’s one example of the sort of Max Gogarty bashing meets Giles Coren noshing that is going on – it has caught the public imagination.
In fact, I’m thinking of putting a spotlight on my roof with a ‘delete sign’ mask to shine out across the city. You know it makes sense… just hook these guys up with the mayor, Batman-style, to do the dirty work of cleaning up grammar in our cities. They’d have spotted Birmingham City Council’s goof of putting a Birmingham/Alabama skyline on a recycling leaflet for sure. Hell, I’ll even join – I hate sedentary work and what an anti-RSI measure!
Until then, I’ll keep googling ‘apostrophe vandalism’ and keep an eye out for caped crusaders packing Tipp-Ex and Magic Markers at a sign near you – pernicketty correction lives on, people, yes indeed.