Those Dad-Blasted Bifocals!

Years ago I had to conduct an inventory at a small library using senior citizen volunteers. This was before the use of automated barcode readers. We’d go down the rows of bookshelves in pairs of two….one person holding the drawer from the card catalog and the other person reading off the titles of the books on the shelf. Sometimes we’d switch and have the person who had the drawer read off the individual cards while the person checking the books on the shelves would try to find the matching books.


Oh my! The titles those ladies would come up with! I spent more time asking them to please repeat themselves because I just couldn’t reconcile what I was reading with what they were telling me. Then, when I’d check the card or the book out myself, we’d all start laughing when I realized what the actual title was. They simply couldn’t see the titles clearly. I thought I’d gone down the rabbit hole. Luckily, they were all good sports and we had many a good belly laugh during that summer of inventory.

Now I suddenly find myself reading the newspaper or billboards and wondering at the strange headlines I’m seeing. Lo and behold, I appear to be reading what isn’t actually there, as my dear hubby is enjoying pointing out. For example, today at church, as I walked up to the snack table between services, I saw a sign on the table that I thought said, “Wanted: Blonde Dinners.” By the time I got right up to the sign, I realized it said, “Wanted: Blood Donors.” Whoops!

Here are some other examples lately from our local newspaper:

-“Merkel insures pope.” Actually, the German Chancellor wasn’t insuring Pope Benedict. She was censuring him, as in “Merkel censures pope.”

-“Sneak up: Tips for enhancing your voice.” Great, I thought. This must be an article about how to make your voice sound like it is coming from another room so you can sneak up on people. Nope. Actually, the headline read “Speak up: Tips for enhancing your voice.”

-A recent article on gypsy moths was entitled “Mouths-be-gone”, or so I thought. Makes sense. They munch on leaves, don’t they? Actually it read “Moths-be-gone.”

-“Sean Penn plans research lab to draw grants” turned out to be “Penn State plans research lab to draw grants.

-Reading ads has become rather exciting. A recent look through the real estate ads described a home with a “drenched 4-car garage.” Upon closer examination, it actually said “detached 4-car garage.” Whew! “Drenched” would be a little too much truth in advertising.

I’ll say this, though. It certainly makes for some interesting reading. I’m getting a whole new slant on the news these days.


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