Words by Ian Stevenson
"Printed Pages" Autumn 2014

I really enjoy written mistakes. Everyday when writing emails I make many and they amuse me. I tried to write "graffiti" in a tweet once and accidentally wrote "graffitit". It seemed apt. One of them graffiti boys once got very upset that I was to paint over his work, even though his work was covering up someone else's.  I remember my misspelling fondly. Oh Freud, what would you say? you'd probably say I was an incapable typist as I didn't grow up in the 1950s and have had no formal training in typewriting. You'd probably say that my errors have nothing to do with your theories and that my "graffitit" is just a beautiful accident.

I suspect, like me, that you have taught yourself to type, and your hands, have adopted all manner of odd mutant positions to try and type words as fast as you can. My left thumb seems to deactivate itself and move inside my hand. Most power is driven to the index and middle fingers, the little finger on my right hand is for the enter key and the thumb on my right hand is for the space bar and the option key. I wounder if they still teach children to use a keyboard in school or if it's become one of those things you have to teach yourself?

On the internet I saw a sign selling Sprite and Diet Cock. This is genius - the best sign ever made - and I bet they had no meeting to come up with it. It's just one of life's pure, accidental joys. Meanwhile in an advertising agency some tit in marketing has had an idea; a wonderful idea only they and the client like. The public don't like it but as the client thinks it targets the demographic correctly they're happy. Any good idea they might have had has been diluted away by endless meetings and market research and over-analysing statistics to within an inch of their lives. Well tell them to stick their idea, get the person who just made the Diet Cock sign because their mistake is more creative. It's the best sign in the world!

Auto-correct is the enemy of these lovely anomalies, but luckily the machines make mistakes too - which has generated more amusement than problems solved. Recently though, when writing an email, my machine has started to correct me, and often it has a point. This is useful but I don't think I like it. I don't want the machines to get too clever. Luckily they still can't correct handwritten signs.

So let the mistakes live on to amuse us. long live the mistake! we should go out and enjoy them on blogs, because that's what the internet is good for.

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