|Rabbi Charles with Prince Ephraim. Once bitten, twice rabid.|
While editing a prestigious lifestyle magazine recently, I was in the middle of an article about the rules for pet transport across national borders when I came upon the following sentence:
“Your pet’s international veterinary certificate, issued by its country of origin, will confirm that your pet is clinically healthy and has been vaccinated against rabbis.”
Full disclosure: I have to confess that I—well, it must be said—laughed.
I never blame Russian writers for making mistakes in English, as they are impossible to avoid (hence my master-classes in the written language, etc.). I only blame myself for occasionally allowing myself to find some of these honest errors funny.
In a politically correct world, I should perhaps be punished for my inability to avoid mirth at the expense of the printed word. The words, qua words, have done nothing wrong. They are blameless. That is why some people think laughter is a sign of cruelty, arrogance, insensitivity, unjustifiable lightness of heart given all the pain in the world or, in extreme cases like mine, a telltale symptom indicating the onset of what is becoming known in the psychoanalytical profession as “Love of Any Unexpected Gaiety in Humans Syndrome”—or LAUGHS.
Laughter these days is a serious matter. How do readers think I should be punished for having been amused?