October 11,2010

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25

Among all the depressing news found in the paper, it’s refreshing to read a fun story for a change. “Wiping Out Typos Across the Country” is one such article I found recently.

Benjamin Herson and Jeff Deck are on a mission, as chronicled in their new book, “The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time,” about their trek across the country to clean up signs that need spelling and/or grammar corrections. “We are with the Typo Eradication Advancement League,” Deck told a waiter in Washington, D.C., according to the article. He had noticed a “p” was missing in the “red snapper” written on the menu board outside, and offered to fix it (the waiter let him).

To do their work, the two carry Sharpies in several colors, Wite-Out, chalk and crayons so they’ll have the right materials. They used to make corrections on the sly, but now they ask for permission first. The reason for that change has to do with the National Park Service.

At the Desert View Watchtower in Grand Canyon, the pair came across a sign saying “womens,” instead of “women’s.”  They added the comma and went on their merry way. Months later, the park service contacted them and accused them of vandalizing federal property. They had to fly to Arizona, hire a lawyer and plead guilty, and as punishment, were banished from the national park system for a year and had to give up correcting any signs during the same time. “We felt really bad about that,” Herson says in the article. “In the moment, we thought we were helping.”

Part of me sympathizes with them. I too have an aversion to ungrammatical signs. Commas in particular seem to be the source of a lot of problems, especially in the words “its” and “it’s.” There’s this one sign I see that says, “Living at it’s finest,” which makes me crazy every time I pass it. But unlike Herson and Deck, I’ve never had the strong urge to deface the sign just to fix it.

I’ve got a lot of typos in my life, mistakes I’ve made (and continue to make) against God and others, which need to be made right. I can’t fix them myself. But I have a Savior who’s willing and able to deal with them, and doesn’t need a Sharpie to do it: He relies on His own blood, shed on the cross to atone for all the wrong things I’ve said, thought and done. He took on my sins as His own, completely separating me from them (Psalm 103:12), and wiping them away as if they were dew on a window or a blot of ink (Isaiah 44:22; Psalm 51:1, 9).

But He’ll only do that if I let Him. “Repent therefore and return,” Peter preached from the Temple’s portico of Solomon, “that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ, appointed for you” (Acts 3:19, 20).

Appointed for me! Appointed for you! To take care of all our typos!

That’s the best news we could ever hear.


  1. Your good big brother says:

    umm, actually, these guys were putting in apostrophes, not commas.

    Your friendly grammar/spelling/punctuation nazi brother.

    Oh, and it’s also White-Out not Wite-Out.

  2. COUSIN BETH says:

    So, cousins — here’s some comments from the English major (but I never finished that degree work) —- typos do drive me crazy also. “Brother’s” comment might not be quite accurate as I have in front of me a “WITE OUT” product put out by BIC.

    Penny, in a private comment, I will send you my biggest and most embarrassing typo which will make you laugh so hard, well — you can tell me what happened to you when you read it.

    I always look forward to your blogs, and I’ve even got a separate place where I save them and re-read them.

    Blessings – Beth

  3. Susan Panzica says:

    So funny! I notice typos too. And I noticed the comma/apostrophe confusion as well, and not just in this post but in the article! But to take action on these errors is boldness I don’t have 🙂

  4. Penny says:

    I KNEW I was going to end up making a typo somewhere in this post, and sure enough I did! Thanks for catching me on it, Good Big Brother. Definitely apostrophes, NOT commas.

    About Wite-Out…I too thought it was White-Out but checked just to make sure before I posted, and the brand does not have the “h” in its name.

    I never realized how many of us typo nuts there are out there…

  5. Sara Harless says:

    Love it. Have you ever noticed how Spell-check wants to put apostrophes on almost every plural? At my day job, a couple hundred private agencies submit paperwork to bill State and Federal Medicaid,and the typo epidemic thrives. I read hundreds of pages every day via a fax to online system, and approve treatment (kids mental health) that seems reasonable. 5th graders have better grammar skills. At least it gives us a laugh.

  6. Nature Girl, April says:

    I have learned to keep my mouth shut when it comes to proper punctuation, spelling, etc. My mother got all OCD over ‘proper English’ and to this day, it drives me crazy to see errors. But I’d rather have a friend than to ‘be right’. So, mum’s the word!

Leave a Reply