DEAR ABBY: Many years ago, you printed a very comical column about an editor who tried to correct a typographical error, and every time he tried to correct it, he compounded the error and ended up in far worse trouble than he started with. It was a classified ad to sell a sewing machine. I have lost the clipping. Will you please try to find it and run it again? - BETTIE EVANS IN GEORGIA
DEAR BETTIE: I found it. And here it is:DEAR ABBY: My mother recently passed away after a brief illness. In the obituary published in our local newspaper, her age was given as 89.
Abby, my mother was only 80, so it was apparently a typographical error. Now this may not seem very important to some people, but Mother was a very vain and prideful woman who would never tell her age.
Because of this typographical error in her obituary, everyone will think she was nine years older than she actually was. Should we ask the newspaper editor to publish a correction? I say we should. The rest of the family says to skip it. - OUTVOTED IN OHIO
DEAR OUTVOTED: Sometimes it's better to leave bad enough alone. In support of my advice, I offer the following from the California Newspaper Association. It is an example of a typographical error in the classified section of a small-town newspaper, and the subsequent disastrous attempts to correct it:
(Monday) "FOR SALE - R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap."
(Tuesday) "NOTICE - We regret having erred in R.D. Jones' ad yesterday. It should have read: One sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him after 7 p.m."
(Wednesday) "NOTICE - R.D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in his classified ad yesterday. His ad stands correct as follows: FOR SALE - R.D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him."
(Thursday) "NOTICE - I, R.D. Jones, have NO sewing machine for sale. I SMASHED IT. Don't call 948-0707, as the telephone has been disconnected. I have NOT been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper, but she quit."
DEAR ABBY: Just between you and me, what do you think of the new 4-cent postage stamp? - HOWARD THE PHILATELIST
DEAR HOWARD: It looks like the preamble to the Constitution of the United States.
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