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To Peterborough or to Peterboro or to Through or to Thru

Recently the promotional flyers for my upcoming book arrived and I was ssooo excited and very proud of my creation. It had been a bit of an arduous process as this was the first time I had tried this and finally after many attempts I felt I had it right, so I submitted them to the printing company, gave myself a well deserved pat on the back and toddled off to bed. A couple of hours later I sat bolt upright in bed. OMG!!! I had forgotten to include my email address!!! DUH! I slept fitfully the rest of the night and first thing come morning I frantically contacted the printing company with "STOP THE PRESSES!!!".

So after adding my email address, I used the opportunity to review what I had written as text on the flyer and to my horror I found a couple of spelling mistakes and also noticed a word missing from the text. YIKES! and PHEW! But all good right? and I corrected things and resent it back for printing and sort of slept better that night. 3 (or is it Three?) days later Mr. FedEx delivered the box of flyers to my doorstep and honestly it felt like Christmas morning opening the box. Excitedly, I ran into the living room with arm outstretched, flyer in hand, picture HEAR YE! HEAR YE!, proudly wanting to show my son, Wonderous, who as usual was horizontally prone on the couch. All I got for my trouble was a grunt with a "ya that's nice Dad... um can you move you're blocking the TV"

Not deterred, yet, I texted Darling Daughter and sent along a pic of the flyer. Expecting a "that's great Dad" especially since she doesn't grunt like her brother, instead what I got back, and very quickly I might add, was "I'm so mad at you. THRU is spelled wrong" then quickly followed with "But otherwise, NICE".

My heart sank and I felt a knot in my stomach and I started to break out in a cold sweat. I immediately texted her back in defense mode (or is it defence?) "Way I spell it" and again almost immediately, and her annoyance with me literally bouncing off my phone screen, "YES I KNOW". Lovely, I muttered to myself and slunk back into the kitchen.

But then I started thinking had I really spelt thru through incorrectly? It is the lazy man's way of spelling it and I am a Man, I mean why use 7 keystrokes when you can get away with 4? Saves on your fingers over time right? Especially since I'm an writer and all. And more importantly it protects against spelling the word incorrectly. For as long as I can remember I struggled with through and thorough, not the meaning, but the writing or typing of it. So over time, subconsciously I guess, I started using thru. And maybe it's also because of how much time I spend in drive-thru's. It's embedded in your psyche. So just for fun I decided to look it up. Thru vs. through and guess what, and are you listening Darling Daughter? I'm not wrong.

The web says thru for the most part should be shunned in writing but is used in stylized branding or informal contexts but nowhere did I see "don't, not, never" and it only said "should" AND it said thru is an alternate way of spelling it. So for me, who struggles with authority, this is perfectly acceptable, so take that Darling Daughter.

Which brings us to the next part. On the same said flyer I had written "Peterboro" in reference to the City of Peterborough or is it Peterboro? I spent many summers in Peterboro and always just seemed to write it that way. Plus the Junior hockey team was referenced as such for years so I just went with that. No biggie right?

The other morning (very early and before everyone was awake so they couldn't see or hear me) I went around my neighborhood (or is it neighbourhood?) putting my flyer in everyone's mailbox. Now they say you can't chose your family or your neighbors (or is it neighbours?). Well, I have this neighbor (we'll go with this spelling 'cus it is my blog after all ... or is it afterall? nevermind...or never mind...oh no.. grrr!) who passes by my house every day walking his dog. So later that morning I'm sitting out on my front steps and my neighbor (who is a nice guy and I like him even if I didn't choose him) walks by with his dog and remember the movie Christmas Vacation and where Clark finally gets the outdoor lights working and his father-in-law Art says "the little lights... they aren't twinkling". Well that's the way my neighbor said to me "you spelled Peterboro wrong". Or was it "Peterborough"? Honestly, I couldn't tell by the way he had genuflected his response. Anyhow, and naturally under my breath, I responded with "thanks for noticing @#%$#...".

So once again that knot formed in my stomach and I got up and went inside to look it up. And sure enough, are you listening Art thy neighbor? I wasn't wrong this time either. Seems a long time ago Peterboro was spelled as Peterboro and though over the years it has changed to Peterborough it is now considered "old school cool" to write it that way. And since i'm all of that and more :-) .... I'm good with it.

And maybe the most important point in all of this. Advertising really does work. My flyer got noticed and that's all that matters right?

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21. Aug. 2020

Your last blog was great; creative. It would be something I would read to students. Love the way you write, and way to give it to your critics. English language has so many rules that almost anything is correct these days.

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