The signs of the times are missing apostrophes.
The world needed a hero, but how would an editor with no off-switch answer the call? For Jeff Deck, the writing was literally on the wall: “NO TRESSPASSING.” In that moment, his greater purpose became clear. Dark hordes of typos had descended upon civilization… and only he could wield the marker to defeat them.
Recruiting his friend Benjamin and other valiant companions, he created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL). Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park. Jeff and Benjamin championed the cause of clear communication, blogging about their adventures transforming horor into horror, it’s into its, and coconunut into coconut.
But at the Grand Canyon, they took one correction too far: fixing the bad grammar in a fake Native American watchtower. The government charged them with defacing federal property and summoned them to court—with a typo-ridden complaint that claimed that they had violated “criminal statues.” Now the press turned these paragons of punctuation into “grammar vigilantes,” airing errors about their errant errand..
The radiant dream of TEAL would not fade, though. Beneath all those misspelled words and mislaid apostrophes, Jeff and Benjamin unearthed deeper dilemmas about education, race, history, and how we communicate. Ultimately their typo-hunting journey tells a larger story not just of proper punctuation but of the power of language and literacy—and the importance of always taking a second look.
How to change the world : June 8-10, 2007 (Hanover, NH) -- Allies : June 2007-February 2008 (Somerville, MA) -- First hunt : February 23-March 4, 2008 (Somerville and Boston, MA) -- Benjamin joins the party : March 9, 2008 (Rockville, MD) -- Maladies : March 11-12, 2008 (Kill Devil hills, NC, to Myrtle Beach, SC) -- Beneath the surface : March 15-16, 2008 (Atlanta, GA) -- Fear and retail : March 17-18, 2008 (Mobile, AL, to New Orleans, LA) -- Davy Jones isn't a Biblical figure : March 20, 2008 (Lafayette, LA, to Galveston, TX) -- Typos aren't charming : March 26-27, 2008 (Santa Fe, NM, to Flagstaff, AZ) -- Over the edge : March 28, 2008 (Grand Canyon, AZ) -- Pressed : April 2-10, 2008 (Los Angeles, CA, to San Francisco, CA) -- You got a friend : April 12-17, 2008 (San Francisco, CA, to Vancouver, BC) -- Run-time errors : April 22-25, 2008 (Cataldo, ID, to Rapid City, SD) -- The epic chapter wherein heroes battle and the scenery flashes past : April 27-May 1, 2008 (Minneapolis, MN; Madison, WI; Chicago, IL; Bloomington, IN; Cincinnati, OH; Newport, KY) -- Why Hudson can't read : May 2-6, 2008 (Athens, OH, to Cleveland, OH -- How do you deal? : May 11-16, 2008 (Albany, NY, to Manchester, NH) -- The welcome-back committee : May 17-22, 2008 (Somerville, MA) -- Court of opinion : August 10-12, 2008 and the days that followed (Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; Phoenix and Flagstaff, AZ) -- A place for starting things : September 13-15, 2009 (diverse locations in and offshore from the Boston, MA, area) -- Appendix: a field guide to typo avoidance.