Bad fish! Bad fish!

Mar 28, 2015 | 2 comments


Fishing on Sand Island - CPHM Archive

Fishing on Sand Island – CPHM Archive

As if the beleaguered fishermen on the Lower Columbia don’t have enough to worry about, they may now have to pay attention to how many of their quarry are sinners. Yes! Really!

According to Wednesday’s Chinook Observer:…Washington and Oregon’s advisory group, the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee, initially said release morality numbers from the replacement gear (purse and beach seines) were much too high. No conclusions have yet been drawn which could lead to the assumption that our salmon fishing friends still have time to talk to those back-sliding fish!

Derbyville, c. 1950s

Derbyville, c. 1950s

I just love those inadvertent typos! A ‘t’ left out and mortality becomes morality and comic relief hops into the news! These days, we can blame spellcheck for a plethora of such errors. It behooves all of us who use computers to do a careful read-through of our written material before hitting the final button that results in public scrutiny. But… easier said than done.

In the olden days, when newspapers were flourishing, one of the lowliest of jobs in any newsroom was that of the proofreader. I did a bit of proofreading at the Independent Journal in San Rafael during my last two years in high school. Granted, I was only responsible for the galleys being prepared for our high school’s Red and White weekly newspaper, but I took my ‘job’ (unpaid, of course) seriously. It helped that it was a small school (about 750 as I recall), that I was the kind of kid who knew most everyone, and that I was a fairly good speller. Plus, I knew where to look or who to call if I had a question.

By the time I moved to Oysterville in the late 1970s (definitely pre-computers and pre-spellcheck) financial constraints meant that most newspapers no longer had a formally designated proofreader. I remember that elementary school teacher and writer Jan Bono served in that capacity for the Chinook Observer for a time but I am no longer clear about whether it was a paid position or not. I just remember that she burned the midnight oil every Tuesday over in Astoria (where the paper was printed in those days).

Charles Nelson Shows 4-H Kids the Fine Points of Fish Cleaning c. 1950s

Charles Nelson Shows 4-H Kids the Fine Points of Fish Cleaning c. 1950s

My favorite typo from that era had to do with Tom’s 2-for-1 Bookstore in Ocean Park. In preparation for a construction project, Tom had some lumber stored behind his place which was then on Bay Avenue. The paper reported that he had broken his leg when he tripped over a “broad” on his back porch. (I’m pretty sure that was pre-Jan’s proofreading days, although I do think the words would have tickled her fancy as they did mine.)

Most complaints I hear about spellcheck, though, are from folks who claim that it has ruined their own spelling ability. They’ve come to depend upon that automatic process to the extent that they are no longer sure if the ‘i’ comes before the ‘e’ in a particular word or if  ‘peek’ or ‘peak’ or ‘pique’ is the correct choice.

Bottom line: Hooray for the amusement those typos give us. Fish morality is certainly a  worthy subject for fantasy, dontcha think?


  1. Nancy Russell tone

    Sydney: Remember, from your aformentioned Independent Journal, a Red Tag Days ad for Dolan’s Fabric Mart which was published: Dolan’s Fabric Fart! Can you imagine the chagrin that must have weighed heavily on the shoulders of that proof reader! Thanks for your words today.

    • sydney

      I don’t know if I ever knew about that one! lol


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