Road Scholar Copy Edits America

Travels the nation correcting typos on signs.

ByABC News
April 4, 2008, 7:27 PM

April 6, 2008 — -- Some of the littlest things are big to Jeff Deck, who is traveling the country in search of mistakes.

He's not looking for big ones, just the small ones like the missing "c" in "cappucino" and the misplaced apostrophe in "Today Special's" on the menu board.

This 28-year-old Dartmouth graduate is crossing America searching for and correcting typographical errors in public places.

Wearing a brown fedora, he's the Indiana Jones of typos. He finds them on parking signs, where cars will be towed at "owners expense," and at the "stationary" store, where they sell "dye cast" metal key chains.

Frequently, the problem is those wayward apostrophes.

"The apostrophe shows up when it's not wanted and is never there when you need it," he said as he walked along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, finding plenty of typos wherever he looked.

He came across a T-shirt shop where the dash was missing between the "T" and the "shirt."

In an Army-Navy store they were offering a "hellicopter" helmet and a bullet "bandoleer."

At the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a coffee chain, the chalk board offered a "Sweedish" berry drink.

This started last summer at Deck's fifth college reunion, where he ran into old friends becoming doctors and lawyers and entering careers that could change the country. As a creative writing major, he decided that he too could change America by correcting its typographical errors.

"I've always been aware of typos wherever I go," he said dryly. "I figured that it was a national problem."

So far he has put 5,000 miles on his 1997 Nissan Sentra. Friends come along for a few weeks at a time.

His search has taken him all the way down the East Coast, across the country through the Southwest, and on to San Diego where he took a right turn to head up the West Coast.

It's all documented on his Web site for The Typo Eradication Assistance League (Teal).

In New York, he found mislabeled chicken "parmasan." In Myrtle Beach, S.C., he saw "tie dye" shirts with a "y." In Galveston, Texas, it was, "Now acepting applications," on a sign offering jobs. And in the California desert, "caramel corn" in neon was missing the second "a."