Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bug in a Rug


This rug FOR SAlE isn't such a rare find, with SAlE being one of the most common lowercase L offenses I've catalogued. But with the fellow selling the rug sitting right next to his merchandise as I snapped the photo, this scenario did present a rare opportunity to delve into the psychology of the lowercase L offender.

"Why are you taking a picture of my rug?" he asked.

"Oh, it's for a silly art project I'm working on, a photo blog about handwriting" I replied, keeping it vague to avoid having to explain, or worse, embarrassing the rugged rogue.

He pressed on, "And what is so special about my handwriting?"

I couldn't let the opportunity pass, since he confirmed having written the sign himself. "Well, my blog is about using lowercase L's in words that are otherwise written entirely in uppercase letters. You see here, you spelled SAlE with a lowercase L, which looks misleadingly like an uppercase i." I had to know, "So, were you aware that you wrote your L in this manner?"

In an attempt to save face in front of his friends, rug guy explained, with a series of incongruous gestures, "Well, yeah, I guess I did that on purpose, you know, because of the uppercase S, and the A, and the E ..."

His explanation didn't make sense. I felt his cognitive dissonance kicking in, as the rug salesman's expression went from cavalier to concerned. "Does that mean there's something wrong with me?" His friends giggled.

"Oh, not at all," I reassure him, somewhat unconvincingly, "It's a more common habit than you might imagine".

I walked away without buying the rug. I never intended to, anyway.
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