Some things to clear out of the in basket (which consists of a :
Apostrophizing:By way of Lydell, news that the apostrophe is really and truly dead–or at least no one really knows what to do with it anymore. The item is from the Chicago Tribune’s Mary Schmich. She notes a momentous local occasion: The unveiling of a statue of Ernie Banks outside Wrigley Field. The exterior of the inoffensive old ballpark also hosts a hideous sculptural tribute to the celebrated late beer-swiller Harry Caray, but that’s another story. Schmich describes the legend on the Banks installation:
Was the inscription on the correct side of the granite base? Yes, it was. Right down there on Ernie’s left it said:
LETS PLAY TWO.
Let us play two. Your 5th-grade teacher taught you this. When you drop a letter between words, you insert an apostrophe. In other words:
LET’S PLAY TWO.
“I’m the sculptor, I’m not a writer,” said Cella, sounding good-natured. “I just read it the way I heard it in my head.”
I will not argue with the directive Schmich remembers her teacher imparting (if I were to argue, I’d say the directive is incomplete). What is lovely here is that the artist shrugged off the error. It was not his job to get it right. And the job of no one else, either, because lots of people saw this thing before it went public and never flagged the error. (The episode is reminiscent of one here in the Bay Area a few years ago in which an installation at a public library included several misspelled names.)
I’m sure Ernie was happy with the inscription, with or sans apostrophe. Chances are this will be the most interesting thing his old team does this year. In the spirit of Mr. Cub, I offer a slogan for the season: The Cubs will be orthographically reprobate in 2008. Catchy, huh?