Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Missoula Treaty Of Ingrammaticy

I'd actually seen this misspelled sign on my previous trips to Missoula, Montana, but only today did I have to time to get out and capture it. It was on an old service station, and I remembered it as being just down the street from the hotel (we'd passed it on the way to the airport in the AM). It wasn't. Took a while to find, but Missoula is actually a neat little town, and so it turned into a pleasant scenic tour. Now I've seen misspelled signs before, but what sets this one apart is that this one is carved in stone:

This is not a case of 'the g fell off.' That's an inch deep there. They meant to do that. I've thought of a few possible reasons. The design of the building suggests maybe the forties or fifties, and perhaps 'alignment' was really spelled like that way back then, not having yet evolved the 'g'. Maybe there was supposed to be a space after the 'a,' meaning that at one point there was a single linement available (though it suggests a lack of foresight to carve that into the front of the building). However, recently uncovered by scientists is that 'alinement' is (or was, back in the fifties) actually a word. Means a group involved in a treaty or pact. So what I think we really have here is an unassuming-looking service station that was really a front for pact-making. Or maybe treaties. And no wonder it got shut down... you couldn't just run out front and take down the sign when the coppers pulled up.


Blogger Clarence said...

There's a service station in North Minneapolis which specializes in alternators, but the word painted in enormous letters on the side of the building is "ALTENATORS."

4:40 PM  
Blogger Yellowbird said...

With your newly revealed definition in mind, I was going to poke open fun at this site, particularly since they boast of being "Context Sensitive", but I Googled a bit more and found that alinement is a legitimate variant of alignment.

I'm surprised the L. M. hasn't corrected you on that.

12:16 PM  

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