Two men who went around the country correcting typos on public signs are now banned from national parks.
Apparently, they are suspected of using correction fluid and a permanent marker to correct a sign that was a "unique and irreplaceable" sign painted by artist Mary Colter.
"An affidavit by National Park Service agent Christopher A. Smith says investigators learned of the vandalism from an Internet site operated by (Jeff Michael) Deck on behalf of the Typo Eradication Advancement League, or TEAL. Smith identified four members, but only Deck and (Benjamin Douglas) Herson faced charges."
Deck recorded the having done the deed in his diary. "After correcting a misplaced apostrophe and comma, Deck reported, he was aghast to discover what he described as a made-up word: 'emense.'
"'I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further, so we had to let the other typo stand. Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity.'"
The Chicago Tribune has a long and interesting article, including this entertaining interchange:
"We started down Milwaukee Avenue.
"Immediately, Herson spotted an offense—a second-floor awning outside a tarot shop that advertised 'Energy Stone's.' They climbed the stairs to the second floor and approached a middle-age woman with a quizzical expression. 'We happened to notice the sign for energy stones,' Deck said, 'and there happens to be an extra apostrophe. "Stone's" doesn't need the apostrophe.'
"'And?' she asked, her voice flat with annoyance.
"'And we wanted to bring it to your attention,' Deck said.
"As they spoke, the woman's daughter stepped into the room and shouted: 'Oh my God! I saw you guys on "Good Morning America." Tell me, tell me—what did we get wrong?" She sounded genuinely thrilled. (Actually, they were on 'The Today Show.') Herson explained the typo on the awning. Deck said he understood that the mistake is out of the way and not easy to fix, but he asked them to promise that they would fix it—soon.
"'Don't know if we can ...' the woman said.
"Deck said they've heard that a lot."
According to NPR, "Deck even found a misspelling on his doctor's business cards — which read "referal" instead of "referral." He mentioned it to the clerk, saying, "There's no way this is going to get fixed, is there?" And indeed, there was not."
The TEAL website currently only displays a message, "Statement on the signage of our National Parks and public lands to come" (which is, ironically, a sentence fragment with no period at its end). Tsk, tsk, tsk.