New Favorite Word – Vitiate

– To make faulty, ineffective. To debase in moral or aesthetic status

Because Dennis and I recently bought a “new” car, it was necessary for us to sell one of our other cars, and we went to Carmax to get it done. It was a relatively painless experience: we were relieved to sell it so easily, and the dealership was delighted to receive a vehicle on which they, no doubt, would eventually make a profit. While sitting in the busy showroom surrounded by others buying and selling their vehicles and a kid in a Batman getup running in circles and crashing into things, our Seahawks-jersey-clad Carmax representative looked at the Passat title and said, “Wow; your names are almost exactly the same.”

[Insert nonsensical responses and “What the . . .” looks from Den and me here.]

“Yup,” she said. “McCurley and McMurley—nearly identical.”

There it was, on an official State of Washington document: someone, somewhere had vitiated my name. And I, intrepid proofreader that I am, had never noticed it.

When I got over my incredulity at bureaucratic ineptitude and embarrassment at being a faulty proofer, I found that I’m not alone when it comes to having my name publicly misspelled. In big, bold letters, Adidas misspelled Colombia in advertising that country’s soccer team jersey. The ad said Columbia. In 2013, the Vatican released an official medal to commemorate the election of Pope Francis which included the word Lesus in the inscription. It should have said Jesus. And in four of the six remaining samples of Shakespeare’s handwriting, he spells his own name four different ways. He vitiated himself!

I’m trying to imagine some way to capitalize on my misspelled name. It has been said that those wacky Starbucks baristas who comically misspell names scribbled on grande, iced, soy, sugar-free, vanilla lattes and triple, venti, no-foam, caramel macchiatos do so knowing that a picture (including the green Starbucks logo) will be posted on social media, and the company will get free advertising. If this blog post goes viral, perhaps I’ll use my advertising kickbacks to get stronger lenses so I can read the new car title.

“Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.” ~Anonymous

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