July 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

When I was nineteen, I untied my Doc Martens and propped my bare ankle on the tattooist’s bench. I watched him peel the stencil away, leaving two curling words stark against my skin. It was only when the buzzing of the machine began that I leaned closer, and narrowed my eyes.

‘Hang on…that’s not how you spell it.’

And he grunted, shrugged, and wiped it off with one quick sweep.

Typo devils, of a sort.

Pesky little critters, hey?

The Germans call them Druckfehlerteufelchen, the Dutch Zetduiveltje, and the Finnish Painovirhepaholainen (I’m headed to Finland in a few days, so best prepare for that quirky language to pop up in my posts….ah, you can never have enough K’s in a word).

I teach literacy for a living, and my trusty red pen gets a damn good workout, spell check or not. But I pity the poor souls who weren’t vigilant enough for a tattooist’s errant needle, or who let the following pearler through.

  • In a 1631 edition of the King Charles bible, you could find the commandment ‘Thou shalt commit adultery.’

There are so many websites for misspelled tattoos that I found myself scrolling through them with one hand over my eyes, wincing. The man who chose to etch across the width of his back in huge letters ‘I’m awsome’, the girl who proudly scripted ‘Are you jalous?’ (hmm, have to say no) or my favourite, the woman who tattooed along her lower back the unfortunate ‘Sweet Pee.’

Always, always take a friend with you to the tattooist. Preferably a literate one.

Then there are the resumé typos. If you’re trying to impress a potential new boss, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the way to do it.

I took a career break in 1999 to renovate my horse.

I speak English and Spinach.

I was promoted as a salesperson for several moths.

 – I can type without looking at thekeyboard.

 – I enjoy woking with others.

 – I am fully aware of the king of attention this position requires.

And my absolute favourite:

I hope to hear from you, shorty.

Priceless. I like to think he got the job.



  1. Michael said,

    I’m glad he did. I would have been worried if he hadn’t got the job considering his confidence and ability to pick a nickname out of the air.

    • inkymouth said,

      I loved the jauntiness of his comment, taken literally…would certainly make his application stand out!

  2. Matthew Dalton said,

    Poor spelling is one of the reasons I am not a tattoo artist.

    It looks like the chap with the short boss did use the spelling and grammar checkers; how else can one explain the comma in the right place?

    Love your work. A blog entry on Painovirhepaholainen from someone who doesn’t seem to make any.

    • inkymouth said,

      Complete lack of artistic ability pretty much ruled out tattooing as a profession for me, I’m afraid! But just between us…I think I’ve found my calling amongst books instead.

      How lovely to find your comment here, Matthew, and thank you for the warm words; much appreciated.

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