This doesn’t really merit its own blog post but Twitter and Facebook are just a little too small to tell the story properly.
I’m currently reading Stanley Wells’ book about love and sex in Shakespeare’s work (I will post a full review when I’m done). I’m actually reading the Kindle version, and I’m reading it on my iPhone. So it’s a little painful, but I knowingly did it that way, because I knew I’d carry around my iPhone into more situations than I’d carry a traditional book.
Anyway, there’s a spot where the sentence reads like this:
Even so it may be revealing. People masturbate, woo, marry, copulate and give birth.
Fine. But in my first reading of this sentence on my tiny screen, what I got was this:
so it may be revealing. People masturbate, woo,
My first instinct was to read “woo” exactly as we most typically use it these days, like an interjection of excitement, like Woohoo! Only without the exclamation point it’s even better, like Professor Wells is sarcastically letting us know early in the book that he’ll be speaking of grown up topics and we should get over it. People masturbate. Woo.
Only after turning the page did I see the marry, copulate and give birth bit, causing me to go back and reparse the entire sentence properly, thus realizing exactly how wrong I was.
<shrug> Maybe you had to be there. But I couldn’t not share that story.