(Yes, I know it’s not really a typo if it is spoken and not printed…)
Carpe diem is my favorite Latin phrase. I like the idea of seizing opportunities, making things count, and being purposeful. It’s probably why I’ve created lots of family traditions with my daughters, why I’ve kept a journal since I was six years old, and why I don’t watch TV. It’s probably also why I listen to NPR while driving. Might as well learn something while going from point A to point B, right? Sometimes, though, this purposefulness gets in the way of mundane relaxation.
Last week, as I was driving to pick my daughter up from gymnastics, I was listening to an interview on NPR. I was simply minding my own business, not looking to correct anyone’s grammar. The host had on an author who was talking about her new book. While happily enjoying the interview, I heard the author say, “I catched the ball…”
I don’t even know how the rest of the sentence went. Actually, I don’t even know how the rest of the interview went because the thoughts in my mind were too noisy.
Did she hear herself make the error? Is she having a hard time continuing because she knows she misspoke? Has she even realized her error? Does she even know that catched isn’t a word? Wait—is catched a word? Perhaps I’m wrong, and it actually is a word now…
So goes the mind of this editor. Try listening to music radio with me sometime. My kids will tell you it’s not always the most relaxing experience. I can get caught up on things, like Halsey’s song “Him and I.” Him and I? It’s me and him, or he and I, not him and I! Who even wrote that song? Does Halsey know she is using improper grammar? Heck, maybe she’s right and I no longer understand grammar.
Like my thoughts above, when I see a repeated error, or even when I hear someone misspeak, I can wind up doubting myself. If it goes round in my head long enough, I typically end with thinking that perhaps I am wrong and they are right. The rules must’ve changed and I just didn’t get the memo. This usually leads to a Google search, which leads to reconfirming what I knew before the doubt crept in.
In case you are wondering, the conclusion is this: catched is still not a word. The interviewee should have simply said, “I caught the ball.” As for me? I’ll stick with my favorite Latin motto. Some might suggest I switch to carpe vinium (seize the wine) because it would lead to more mind-numbing relaxation, but wine makes me far too sleepy.