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Omaha Magazine

Otis Twelve: Typos I Have Known and Loved

Sep 22, 2023 04:19PM ● By Otis Twelve
not funny otis 12 october 2023

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Listen to this article here. Audio Provided by Radio Talking Book Service.

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters was exactly right when he wrote, “We don’t need no education.” Thus, implying with that famous double negative that it’s “no education” that we “don’t need,” or therefore “We need education.” Then, unfortunately, the lyric goes on to say in similar fashion—via another double negative—that, in fact, “We need thought control.”

This proves the importance of education. If you are not educated you might have trouble being understood. That is, your meaning might get garbled. We cannot know for sure if Roger Waters doesn’t not regret not being taught about double negatives in grammar school. But he probably does not never think about that gap in his education.

Knowledge sets you free. As Frank Herbert said in Dune, “Fear is the mind killer.”  He was right. And all fear is based on the unknown. What we don’t know scares us. I read all the Dune novels back when they came out. I have re-read all of them multiple times over the years and now, I no longer fear giant sand worms—the Shai-Hulud—or time bending messiahs known as Kwisatz Haderachs. Why not?  Well, Frank’s books educated me about both. I even have recently gained updated knowledge of the upcoming release of Dune: Part Two in theaters next spring…or summer…or who knows when… Oh hell, because of the actor’s strike I’m afraid it may never come out. 

So, anyway…on the top of my schedule for tomorrow is “Root Canal.” Normally that would be frightening, but all I have to do is Google it and thus, by learning about the procedure—by understanding the ins and outs, the particulars of the operation—I can relax, secure that the professionals trained to delve so deeply into enamel, gum, and bone, with sharp steel, whirring drill bits, and medieval shaped probes are guided by science, skill, and knowledge of the barbarous task at hand. All will be well.

Of course, you have to be careful when Googling because a simple typo can be the difference between “Root Canal” and “Boot Canal.” One clumsy keystroke and you end up reading about a man stabbed 28 times before escaping from the “boot” of a car pushed into a “canal” near the site of the Battle of the Boyne in County Meath, Ireland. This does not lead to a calm state of mind. On the contrary, it leads to increased stress regarding parades celebrating William of Orange, and what might happen to me anytime I open the trunk of my car.

As we all know once your Google has gone off course, there’s no telling where you may end up. It turns out that the attempted murder of the man in the “boot” tossed into the “canal” was near the town of Slane. And the early name of that crime-ridden little town was “Ferta Fear Fiac” meaning “the Graves of the Men of Fiac” and it appears to have taken its modern name of Slane from “Slanus,” a King of the legendary Fir Bolg, who is believed to be buried on Hill of Slane. Knowledge is so important. Someday this little snippet about the “Men of Fiac” will come in handy at a cocktail party.

Is there any such thing as a “cocktail party” anymore?  I’ll have to Google that…carefully. Meanwhile, knowing that tomorrow’s root canal is scheduled for my wife and I am only driving her there and back—that makes a big difference.  Dental work is my mind killer.

I don’t need no root canal.

This article originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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