A Masochist Proofreader’s Paradise

A case could be made that, in a public school, the release of this sort of a post raises a moral issue.

Click to access Homecoming%20Parade%202014%20Packet.pdf

After one clicks on the link, the title “Homecoming 2014” becomes 2014 Homecoming in the text; which do you prefer? Did the same person write both the link and the headline?

The sentences in the first paragraph seem to be in random order. Let’s try sentence #4, followed by sentence #2. Sentence #3 is negligible, as it likely won’t influence the behavior of participants, and sentence #1 should just… disappear. What follows is a substantial space, and two exclamatory statements in bold type, from which a distinction is made between “your pride” and “our parade.”

After another huge space the second paragraph is a third exclamatory statement that begins with “Once again, it’s time to get ready.” Most readers have never participated in this particular parade, and so this does not apply to us (perhaps the sponsors are reminding themselves?). This is followed by a fourth consecutive exclamatory statement, then an expression of the writers’ ongoing encouragement to join in on the fun: if you live or work in Barrington, you can enter a float. At the end of this second paragraph, we come to the only piece of advice for interpreting the theme, and that is to think of “fun, unique ways” to interpret the theme. The paragraph closes with yet another exclamation, this time a reminder to make a float that is also relevant to the community.


The theme for Homecoming is “Arabian Nights.” This is also the title of a collection of Arabic folk tales structured as stories told by Scheherezade (the only virgin left in the land) to her husband the king, who has murdered a series of his brides on the theory that women cannot be trusted much beyond their wedding night. Scheherazade thwarts her supposed fate by telling stories to her husband at bedtime but leaving each unfinished, “cliff-hanger” style, in order to spare her own life for one more night. Have you visualized any fun, unique ways to incorporate this into a parade float yet?


┬áThere’s more proofing to be done, and it’s left to you. Read the “Homecoming Float and Vehicle Rules” (hint: #3 and #7, although we also enjoy #8 as a non sequitur).