This is the language which brought us the word "pneumatic." From the Latin "pneu," meaning "silent p, especially in the middle of the night when you are trying not to wake anybody else up," and the Greek "matic," meaning "word which just somehow magically comes after 'auto.'"
Here are some gaffes I regret from the past year:
- In my column about this fall's election, I used the phrase "power-hungry egomaniac" when I should have chosen the more internationally accepted "accident de locomotive" ("train wreck.") My apologies to PHEW (Power Hungry Egomaniacs Worldwide) for hiring an exterminator, so to speak, when a simple can of RAID would do.
- There was a typo in my column about fracking. Parents were understandably upset that their children were exposed to such language. The sentence I had intended to write was actually "the governor won't stop fracking long enough to study the effect on women of childbearing age."
- I used a technique called exaggeration when writing about my dog's appetite. He does not "literally" eat half a cow a day, any more than I literally once dated Giselle Bundchen while not dreaming. He wants to eat half a cow, don't get me wrong. His desire is to have access to a whole cow, eat half now, then half in 10 minutes. Like most Americans, I tend to use the word "literally" when I really just mean my life is hollow.
- In my column about which direction a toilet paper roll should be placed, over or under, I regret calling people of the "under" persuasion "soulless ghouls." Over or under preference is an inborn trait, not a choice, and I should not have maligned people for what is, in essence, a genetic defect.
- I mistakenly used the word "hermaphrodite" in a column about the arctic, when I realize now the word I was really going for was "permafrost." Mea culpa. As I recall, I screwed that one up on the SAT too.
- Finally, in this very column, I concede I may have erred by claiming mistakes which were not actually made in columns which were not actually written. If you are seeing an ad for mattresses in this space right now, you will know that the editors caught this in time.