I’ve been thinking about typos today. The subject is near and dear to me, since I do my own typing and I’m not the most careful proofreader. As I can attest, some slips of the keyboard seem more unintended than others.
Even the most proficient typists punch the wrong key now and again. The resulting gaffs, though purely accidental, often prove comical and sometimes obscene. Who hasn’t produced “shit” when he meant to write “shot?” And how many “dicks” have appeared in place of the intended “ducks” or “docks?”
Those kinds of typos are simple to fathom and obviously inadvertent. For instance, on the standard keyboard, the letter “o” resides adjacent to the letter “i,” and both letters should be typed with the right hand. One can all too easily substitute an “i” for an “o” and end up with something like a baseball game recap on the batter who “had a ‘shit’ just inside the line.”
Then there’re the harder to understand mistakes. When substituted letters rest on opposite sides of the keyboard and require the use of different hands, how could anyone believe their exchange accidental? For example, if I’m supposed to write “crop” and I type “crap” instead, how can I claim my left hand’s insertion of an “a” in place of the required right hand’s “o” was unintended? I know what Sigmund Freud would say in such a circumstance: subconsciously I meant to type “crap,” and I did.
It’s one of those left hand versus right hand typos which resulted in the snippy reply brief I received from my adversary today. For the past several months, I’ve opposed one of the big Atlanta law firms in a suit filed against my client. In typical fashion, the big firm has adopted a slash and burn approach. They’ve tried to force a settlement by piling up attorney’s fees with excessive discovery requests, unreasonable demands and questionable motions. They’ve even staffed the case with several lawyers just so they can grind me and my client into submission. Privately, I refer to the group as the “four assholes of the apocalypse.”
A week ago, I filed papers opposing their most recent, marginally unethical application. I couldn’t resist including a snide remark about the opposing firm’s lead counsel, whom I admittedly consider the chief rectum of the bunch. I intended to comment on his leadership of the firm’s efforts to file unwarranted motions; however, I didn’t mean my brief to identify him as the “prick of the litter.” That’s what I’ll tell the judge at oral argument too, even if he — like Sigmund Freud — finds the excuse a bit hard to swallow.