Beware the Penquins and Other Cases for Proofreading

"Benaughty! Rise you potential," the banner ad exclaims.

I've been chuckling over this for a few days now, and felt compelled to share. It hovers over my Statcounter stats in rotation with other less grammatically free-spirited ads.

The first time I saw it, I just caught it out of the corner of my eye. And the message routed itself from eyeball to the brain, where it hung in that big echoing room with all the windmills... And it whispered...

"Rise you potentialllllll...."

Rise me potential? What the-?!... I stopped what I was doing and raised an eyebrow. Or rised it.

But when I looked up, the panel had rotated over to something else. So typical of potential, really. There and gone in the blink of an eye.

Well, the next day, there it was again. "Rise you potential." The brain processed it right away this time.

And do you know how the Benaughty folks think I can rise me potential? By placing hardcore "adult dating" ads on this blog!

Yup, there's a surprise. Gosh, we'll be rising all sorts of things, won't we?

The actual surprise, I'd say, was that their main site appears fairly well proofread-- because, well, with a lead-up like that, I simply had to check it out and see.

And yessir, there weren't any of those pesky typos detracting from their offer of big money for connecting beloved readers with buxom Scandinavian hotties who are, in all likelihood, sweaty men with comb-overs who answer to the name of "the Dwayne-meister."

(The sweaty men answer to "Dwayne-meister"... not the comb-overs. Just so we're clear.)

So I actually started to feel a little sorry for the Benaughty people. I mean, here they are, wanting to lure in potential potential-risers. And instead they're probably getting a bunch of amused marketing writers, rigid schoolmarms, Grammar Nazis, and out-of-work copy editors looking for employment.


I sympathize, you see, because I have not been without my own share of typos. Why just recently, when we were here at Cabbages waiting for Godot, I got "Hooked on Phonics" somewhere along the way and he went all Godoh on us for about three hours. Before I was enlightened to my error.

I'm also reminded of a craft project an acquaintance was working on. This girl-- we'll call her "Stephanie"-- Stephanie had a boyfriend who loved the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. And so she decided she'd quilt this fine fellow a Penguins-themed blanket for Christmas.

A nifty idea and a gift sure to be appreciated, right?

Well, Stephanie worked long hours on this, crafting it in yellow and black stripes, cutting out each square, each letter, with love and care and nimble fingers...

And then it was complete. Thick, fleecy and beautiful, with lots of hand-done touches, Stephanie finally showcased her work.

"Um... Stephanie?... How do you spell 'penguins'?"

Stephanie's face grew dark. "Er... what?"

"How do you spell 'penguins'?"


"Uhhh.... let me stop you right there, Steph. G."

Stephanie had lost all blood to her head and neck at this point. "Excuse me?"

"It's G. P-E-N-G... U-I-N-S."

She probably would have been better off just quilting, "Go Pens."

So remember, folks--

Whether you're selling money-making schemes involving "hot broads looking for a good time" who are actually B.O.-radiating Dwayne-meisters...

Or whether you're humor blogging about existentialist literature while undercaffeinated...

Or whether you're just trying to create the gift that keeps on giving...

Good proofreading really can be your fiend.

Er... freind. Er...

Beware the Penquins.

Vote for Of Cabbages and Kings at Humor-blogs. Or click on over to Humorbloggers for fun discussion boards with funny folks unlikely to ever refer to themselves as "the Dwayne-meister."


Anonymous said...

All your potential are belong to us!

I LOVE signs with weird verbiage.

Back in the 80's I worked in a mall - because thats what ya did. And my boss at the time - a huge ummm faghag - decided that if she was gonna have a gay teenage boy working for her that part of my job involved telling her when clothes she picked out made her look short, or fat, or old or anything else.

So I got dragged along to Macy's and The Limited, and Limited Express almost every day and to this day I still have to grind my teeth remembering the sales signs saying "Save up to 75% or more!".

The 'or more' following 'up to' is still a favorite of mine.

Unknown said...

JD- "Up to... or more" is classic. And fairly common, too!

I can't believe this woman made you go clothes shopping with her.

Anonymous said...

It was ok - she was pushing 50 and I was 17 and we remained friends for years - she bought my lunches so it was worth it.

She had recently undergone a double radical mastectomy (did I spell that right?) when I stated working for her after close call with breast cancer and her husband was extremely loaded so what I was doing was helping her build a new wardrobe to go with her new figure after the surgery.

When I finished helping, she looked great! :)

Unknown said...

JD- I commend you for your style AND good-nature. :)

Anonymous said...

I said this on BlogCatalog, but I read this:

"I stopped what I was doing and raised an eyebrow. Or rised it."

and laughed out loud.

Unknown said...

OK, Crazy- Heh, always a joy to know someone really did laugh!

I find myself now WAITING for "rise you potential" to rotate through in Statcounter. It might actually end up having good marketing memorability, simply for being questionable writing! :)

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of officially the world's worst computer game, Big Rigs (there's a hilarious video review of it by Alex Navarro).

If the game isn't bad enough, at the end of the game a big "You're Winner!" flashes on the screen.

I'm winner what, exactly?

Unknown said...

Tiggy- Oh, now that's priceless... "You're winner."

And winning, suddenly, seems to have lost a bit of its luster somehow... :)

Anne Coleman said...

Jenn, you make me laugh out loud each time I read your blog! How do you not make yourself laugh all day long?

Anonymous said...

I used to have a problem with President Clinton "growing" the economy, until I figured out that he saw it as something in the garden. But that metaphor doesn't make much sense, does it? Before him, I think economies just grew or shrunk.

My favorite examples used to come from my first sergeant. A handful of us had to work hard to keep a straight face in formation sometimes. You see, he had a big dictionary on his desk, which he used to discover words and their meanings. But he never used it to learn proper word usage.

Unknown said...

Anne- Well, thank much!-- but the world's a pretty funny place all on its own... I'm just the person neurotic enough to write it all down. :)

Unknown said...

Mark- Ah, the sergeant got a "Word A Day" calendar basically and wanted to make the most of it, eh?

It's always difficult when you want to give a person the respect they deserve, but then there's some distracting word choice that mentally sends you back to about sixth grade.

Misused metaphors are really the ones that drive me nuts. When a metaphor works, it can enhance everything so much. But when it's off, it ends up being all I focus on. :)

Da Old Man said...

BTW, as far as the Godoh/ Godot, thing, I looked it up when you published it the first time, and just presumed you were going for some Dutch cheese related pun that I missed. Those things happen to me often enough, that I didn't want to look dopier than usual.
Either that or you had adopted some high faluting Pittsburgian dialect, rather than the proper NJ way of speaking that you used to know.
By the way, I belong to another chatboard, and one of our joys is seeking typos we all make that usually are funnier than the jokes they were a part of.
I need some new hobbies.

Unknown said...

Da Old Man- I looked at that misspelled Godoh so long, there would absolutely have been no way I would have caught it. And then when I was informed of it with the right spelling, I looked at the right spelling and thought, "Yesss... isn't that what I DID?" Er, no.

Ah, if I'd only thought to pawn it off on Dutch cheese. :) As always, Joe, you are a genius! :)

Anonymous said...

Good grief - did 'Stephanie' really mis-spell Penguins, with a Q??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Poor girl.


Anonymous said...

Jay- Oh, I wish I were kidding you, and that I could say I'd made it all up-- but no. She quilted "Penquins." With a Q.

The poor thing.

Still cracks me up, though.

Anonymous said...

I am potential! Here me rorar....

(Very funny post)


MYM said...

As you may know, I have a few penguins on my page ... and I'm always wanting to use a "q" I don't know why! Maybe it's the "u" penquins ... just makes sense. Of course it's underlined in red as I see it now.

B said...

maybe it's "Rise You, Potential"?

Pen Quinns? No one says that!

Chat Blanc said...

ah yes, I like to think of typos as God's little humor gifts :)

KAT said...

Thank you for making me laugh yet again!
I love to come here and laugh. :)

Unknown said...

Doug- Well, sure-- working up a good roar requires a lot of energy. None left for proofing. :)

Drowsey- I have indeed noodled around with the penguins on your site! So, you're living proof of the need to substitute the mysterious "Q", eh?

Stephanie unfortunately didn't have the benefit of spellcheck when she was quilting.

I think that just might have been her downfall.

B- AH! Or, "Rise, you potential!" Sure, it's just a missing comma then! Very clever solution! And sure, B-- the Pen Quinns. A new folk band. Haven't you heard of them? :)

Chat Blanc- Yeah, well, I'll try to remember that gift theory the next time I think I'm being clever but make a gigantic embarrassing typo. :)

Kat- Always glad to have you visit! :)

Greg said...

You always leave me laughing here, Three-Blogs.

Unknown said...

Greg- You and your Three-blogs...(shakes head) I swear, if I didn't actually like you so darned much, I would have to hurt you.

Anonymous said...


I just found this, thought of this post and came running back to share:

The Impotence of Proofreading By Taylor Mali


Unknown said...

Really, really, well-done. Yes, indeedy! Every kid does dream of getting into colleagues such as Harvard, Jail, or Prison-- in Prison, New Jersey. :)

I application to Prison, but I receiver a dejection better. No Prison for me.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

That is so not funnie....

crapp. You no what I meen.

Whatevr. Who has to spel gud anyhow? Duh.

Unknown said...

Jonny's Mom- Sure, why do we need spelling when we have text messaging?...

Er, wait, no... um...