Zero to Sixty

Like most old farts, I have multiple topics that I could bitch and moan about, but I’m going to tack my ship of rants in a different wind for a change and share a fond memory from 1967.

You see, once upon a time a zillion years ago, during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I was a cub reporter at a daily morning newspaper in Huntsville, Alabama.

Though I usually wrote feature stories, penned obituaries, or reported on local high school sports, my editor charged me one night with proofing the classified ads because the usual proofreader was out sick.

The typesetter, a prankster with a mean sense of humor, typed in a classified ad for a car: “It goes from 0 to 60 as fast as you can shit.”

Yes, he purposely left out the “f” to see if I’d catch the error and fix it while proofing. He knew if the error wasn’t noticed and corrected the proofreader would be in for a tongue lashing from one of the bosses.

Keep in mind this tale I’m telling occurred back in the day before computers, before word processing, before auto-correction, and before all the other modern stuff that more often than not makes life harder these daze than life was in the good old days.

Well, given my eagle eyes for English errors and typos even at the ripe age of 20, I did catch the mistake, but… given my own appreciation for pranks and fun, I didn’t fix the error because I thought it was hilarious.

The next afternoon when I came in for work, I was not only chewed out by the editor but was also called into the publisher’s office. Both of my bosses were already familiar enough with my sense of humor as well as my almost OCD approach to words and writing to suspect I’d probably let the ad run as typeset.

They were right, of course, and because I’d grown up guilt-ridden and honest as Old Abe, I owed up to my bad decision, confessed without breaking into a laugh, apologized, and swore that would be the last time I’d let “shit” pass for “shift.”

Consequently, I got off pretty lightly with only two minor ass chewings.

And that’s a fun memory that bubbled up in my fevered old brain this Wednesday afternoon for no apparent reason other than perhaps neurons misfiring between my ears this fine spring day.

Happy Hump Day, dear friends!