Annals of Commuter Orthography

Well bless you, Copiers Northwest, for trying. On your electronic sign at the corner of Mercer and Dexter, which invaluably provides time and temperature for those of us crawling east in our cars toward I-5, there's now this familiar quotation from a great American poet: "To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life." A lovely sentiment, elegantly put. But it's not from T.S. Eliott. It's from T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), the arch-modernist poet and critic, author of The Waste Land and other important works. Living here on Elliott Bay, home to Elliott Bay Book Co., I can understand how there's a kind of Eliot-Eliott-Elliott slippage between famous poets and famous bodies of water. And I know I have both caught or committed that author-into-bookstore error a few times while editing and writing for SW. But how does the expression go? February is the cruelest month.

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