They packed 48 pop tarts, sleeping bags and a tent in preparation for a quest that would eventually bring them from the Boston suburb of Somerville all the way to Los Angeles. They set up a blogging community so that friends and family could donate food and cheap housing. They organized all of this for the sole purpose of providing America with good grammar and punctuation.
In a brilliantly humorous blog titled “Typo Hunt Across America,” Jeff Deck, founder of the “Typo Eradication Advancement League,” led a coalition of the willing – men and women with enough free time to take pictures of comma splices. He explains that his calling couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment: “I’m two days away from my twenty-eighth birthday, perilously close to the time when one must Get One’s Shit Together once and for all. This could be the last opportunity I have both the time and the funds for such a ludicrous adventure, before I go and really wreck my career for good.”
Deck takes the liberty of correcting the errors himself – using white out, markers and stickers to copy edit road signs and ads. While visiting a miniature golf course in Charleston, Deck relates the difficulties of correcting a course instruction sign: “Various fiberglass animals and signs educated the miniature golf enthusiast on the inhabitants of darkest wilderness. One of which contained a minor but irksome omission (a comma was missing). The sign itself was protected by a layer of thick plastic, so we were forced to mark the plastic instead. The correction should withstand at least a few bouts of inclement weather before fading, and sometimes that, cherished reader, is all we can hope for in this madly transient world.”
You can read the rest at Jeff’s site. It had my fiancee, a copy editor at a daily newspaper, laughing at two in the morning.
About Jeff Deck (from the TEAL website): Jeff Deck has felt an incinerating passion for proper spelling and grammar from an early age. In sixth grade he placed third in the class spelling bee, a technicality preventing him from even higher rank. In both seventh and eighth grade he won the schoolwide spelling bee only to flub the district bee each time. However, a marble bust in the lobby of his junior high school still marks his achievements, depicting Deck in the style of a young Octavius, famed speller of ancient civilization. Subsequent stints as an editor in both the heady realm of college journalism and abstruse fields of academic literature have served to hone the eager blade that Deck wields against the hobgoblins of error and misunderstanding. He has founded the Typo Eradication Advancement League to further the just and noble cause of typo-slaying, in the hope that TEAL’s mission can be as a fat taper of inspiration in a dim and murky world.