A Facebook post warned, “where there are idol hands, the devil must be at work.” According to any monotheistic religion, any part of an idol is bad news, not just the hands. But I suspect the poster was trying to paraphrase the common maxim, “the idle brain is the devil’s workshop.”
As it turns out, I have long collected similar instances of idle hands—or maybe idle brains—making mistakes with homonyms on a keyboard. When faced with a pear pair of similar words, they choose the wrong one.
As long as we started with a comment from a Christian viewpoint, we can continue with a complaint from a pastor. Church people blame pastors for all kinds of things: “The implication is, it is not only the pastor’s fault. But he or she also bare the responsibility of why the person isn’t serving the Lord.”
“Bare” meant to uncover or expose something. Now, generations of pastors thought it was their responsibility to expose sin. But this one was complaining of having to carry the weight of (bear) responsibility for someone else’s choices.
A poster in another group complained that Biden’s Build Back Better initiative would only “make Americans week and vulnerable.” Is it Biden’s fault that that person is weak on choosing the right word?
Someone in a writer’s group I belong to posted the following gem:
A Facebook ad announced “Eucalyptus Pealing Logs available.” I’ve seen lots of eucalyptus trees and enjoyed the sound of the wind blowing through them. It doesn’t have the sound of a bell at all. The trees also shed bark. When bark peels off the tree, it makes a good mulch. I didn’t follow the link in the ad, but I suppose someone was selling logs that customers could peel.
Someone else bragged about his childhood chess prowess: “I was nibble enough of mind to execute a pretty good game.” Now, nibble and nimble aren’t homonyms. Since “m” and “b” are not typed with the same hand, it seems like a stranger typo than even some of mine!
Commenting on a piece of music on YouTube, someone wrote, “Song always reminded me of a 3 headed dragon walking threw a cave.” Oh well, that’s easier to spell than through!
Someone else enjoyed a choral piece performed by 12 solo voices: “Love how each member just waits for their queue then graciously blends into what is an astonishing and brilliant harmony.” Well, there are lines in vocal music, just not queues. A particular line might be someone’s cue.
On another video, someone commented, “sad to see the elephant tide up like that.” An elephant on a beach might enjoy the tide if it’s not tied up too far away. How many times does a simple transposition of letters in a typo wind up as a homonym of the intended word?