December 25, 2008


I once read a newspaper headline that stated, “Eight Poisoned from Salmonella Statewide.” This really bothered me. Not the content of the article, (in fact I didn’t read any farther) but the fact that they had misspelled “Salmonella”. I showed my brother, Matt, saying “Look what these assholes did.”
“You don’t have to be an asshole to get poisoned,” he replied.
“No, ‘Salmonella’ is spelled wrong.”
I considered it very disrespectful. Especially to readers who, like my brother, don’t know how to spell. In fact, he even said to me, “I think they spelled it right.”
This is the power that the press has. Mindless, ignorant drones, like my brother, assume the press knows what it is talking about, and base their spelling opinions on what the press says is true. I sent that newspaper a scathing letter. (I won’t print the letter here because I only made one copy and they didn’t send it back to me.)
Eight days later my brother’s wife called down the basement stairs that I had got a letter. Assuming she was trying to trick me into paying one of their bills, I ignored her for a few days. (You see, I was busily writing the novel that would allow me to move out, not that I would.) She later told me who the letter was from, so I opened it. It read,

Dear Sir,
In your complaint, you claim that we spelled “salmonila” incorrectly. As you did not specify the flawed article, its author, or the date it was printed, we were unable to pinpoint the mistake. We did, however, review the 145 salmonella-related articles we printed in the last 5 years and found no mistakes. It is worth noting that the last of these articles was printed more than four months ago.
For the record, the 2008 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary uses the spelling, “salmonella,” as well as “sincerely,” “thoughtless” and “elitist” (with one e). Also, when you wrote “Deer stupid newspaper fags,” you probably meant “Dear stupid…etc.”
As to your assertion that our headlines should rhyme, it is a novel idea, but it isn’t, nor do I think it ever will be required by law.
Thank you for the input,
David Wilson, assistant editor, The Mellonville Press.

At first, this response angered me and I began to punch random objects in the furnace room where I had read it. (As it turns out, the only object in the furnace room is the furnace.) My hands in serious pain, I paused to survey the damage I had caused. (There seemed to be almost none, which was lucky because I am very strong.) While resting, I realized that until I saw that article while changing my guinea pig’s cage lining, I had never seen the word salmonella in writing before.
In a moment of humbleness, I admitted to myself the possibility that the newspaper had used the proper spelling. And maybe, just maybe, they deserved the trust of stupid, slave-to-the-norm pawns, like my brother.
by Bryan (with corrections from Matt)

1 comment:

Kira said...

Hahaha beautiful all the way through. The lastbline is priceless.