When you hear someone say, “Hey, Homey,” what image is invoked in your mind? Is it Homey the Clown as portrayed by Damon Wayans in In Living Color? (Homey the Clown was an ex-con who worked as a clown as per the terms of his parole agreement, but he would often attack his audience with a sock filled with coins, and he was the personification of the “bad clown” image.)
Or when you hear someone call someone else Homey, do you perhaps think of street thugs who don’t understand the concept of pulling up their pants? For whatever reason, boys and young men that don’t pull up their pants seem more intimidating, even though, logistically, they probably can’t run very fast because their pants would fall all the way down and trip them! Even so, as tempted as I am to sneak up behind them and give them a “colossal Melvin” (which is a nice word for an atomic wedgie), whenever I see these young men, I usually restrain myself and actually cross the street to walk on the other side of the road, “just to be safe.”
My Throwback Thursday story takes us back to the early 1980s when I was in Mrs. Palmer’s seventh grade typing class. Back then, typing was actually on a typewriter, much like the one I have featured on my blog banner above (which, by the way, is my actual typewriter from back then).
I got to play drums that year, and while I was excited that I was accepted into the school’s band, the band teacher moved the class to sixth period which was the same time as typing. So I had to drop out of typing in order to stay in band. I learned the “home keys” (ASDFJKL;) as well as the GH in the middle of them before I made the change to band class.
Well, it wasn’t long before I realized that packing and lugging the heavy drum equipment between home and school got old, so I then quit band and went back to typing class. By then, the class had already learned the bottom row of keys and some of the right-handed top keys. I got back in time to learn the left-handed QWERTY keys.
Now, Mrs. Palmer was a stickler for using the proper finger formation, posture, etc. She would even blindfold us and make us take pop-quizzes as she watched. And of course, I failed miserably at the words that included letters which required the keys that I hadn’t learned.
Fast forward a few years. I graduated high school a year early and thought I was “all that.” I got a job, had a baby, then realized I wasn’t going anywhere without a secondary education. So, in the early 1990s, I went to college and had to take two typing classes, but they were of course on a computer and not a typewriter. My college typing teacher was not nearly as stringent as Mrs. Palmer had been. In fact, she didn’t care if we typed with two fingers as long as it was fast.
As such, my typing form became sloppy (though I was fast) and I admit, to this day, I have to cheat by looking at the keys while I type. (Actually, I often type without looking, but then when I catch myself and realize that I’m not looking, I panic and then force myself to watch.)
Well, my computer, which is actually only about three years old, has a very sad keyboard. I don’t think I owned it for more than a year before the letters started rubbing off the keys. (I won’t even get into the auto-correct feature in Word that makes something out of a typographical error that was never intended in the first place. Oh, if you could only see my eyes roll back in my head while I think about that… Except when my eyes roll back, I can’t see what I’m typing, so that creates a problem. Never mind.) And before you ask, yes, I actually have tried to paint them back on, but the letters rub off again in a matter of hours.
Anyway, when I started writing my first draft of The Prison, I didn’t have a lot of need for the bottom row of keys. You see, the first half of the book deals with a woman’s recollection of her time with her abusive husband. He calls her names such as “Stupid” and “Idiot”… you know, home and top row key words. (Well, honestly, he calls her some names that include bottom row keys, as well, but those are irrelevant to this story.) However, the second half of the story is the husband’s memory of his time with his wife. He calls her things such as “Sweetie” (another home and top row key word) and “HONEY.” Only inevitably when I typed “Honey” what I really typed was “HOMEY.” (As you can see above, the M and N keys are completely gone from my sad keyboard.) And, of course when I spell-checked the completed work, the computer never caught HOMEY as a misspelled word. So, it wasn’t until I reread the manuscript, that I realized the humorous pet name my character had been using. “Hi, Homey. How was your day?”
Since then, I’ve written five more first drafts of other books, and if I call someone Homey…(Well, actually I’ve never called someone Homey.) But if I call them Honey, I pay particular attention to the M-N keys and make sure I am indeed addressing a loved one and not a street thug or psychotic clown!
This concludes the Throwback Thursday portion of my story. However, my fellow writers may appreciate the remainder of this post which has to do with the aforementioned theme of typos. While I was pondering on what to write about today and mulling over my humorous homey anecdote, I read an article regarding what to include in book reviews. I don’t want to say anything more specific, because I really don’t want to call someone out and make them feel bad. But I wonder, friends, what you would do, if anything, if you encountered this. After I read the article, I read the comments when I noticed the following mistake:
My biggest struggle is how to give a bad review while staying professional…The writer/editor in me wants to smack them with a dictionary. All I can saw is “This book is currently not readable because of poor proofreading.”
Obviously he/she meant to type “SAY” and not “SAW”. And it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if they weren’t in the middle of a rant about other writers who didn’t proofread their work. (Frankly, I don’t think it’s nice to pick on anyone. After all, we all make mistakes. But you’ve got to admit, the irony here is pretty darn funny, right?)
So, if you saw this, would you: A) contact them privately and tell them they might want to change that to avoid embarrassment; B) reply to their comment with a light-hearted quip, pointing out their faux pas and adding a smiley face to show you weren’t trying to be mean-spirited; C) do nothing; D) cut and paste the remark, then blog about it later; or E) any combination of the above? If it were me, I think I’d appreciate someone telling me privately so I could correct it with as few people knowing as possible. And if he/she were not writing about how much he/she despised mistakes, it might not be as blaring. But then again, just because I’d appreciate being notified doesn’t mean someone else would take constructive criticism, or in this case, an unsolicited observation, in the spirit in which it was being given. I’d appreciate your thoughts, please. I mean, I honestly felt like trying to save this guy/girl from humiliation, but I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all, and frankly, I don’t need the bad karma this could create.