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Calm! Calm! The English say cawm.

An email this morning from the Director of the library that employs me mentioned that there were several people away (including the Directorial self), and that the business manager, who I’ll call Linda, “has the calm”, and if we need her we should contact her.

So what I’m wondering—is this a dictation error? I don’t know for sure whether the Library Director dictates emails, but I know a lot of people do, and those emails do often have some odd and interesting wordings. The email does have the sent from my iPad tag (do people seriously not remove that immediately?) so I am inclined to think that it’s beach-wrecking.

That still leaves the question of whether the L.D. said (correctly) that Linda has the conn or (incorrectly) that Linda has the com. TSOR shows that take the com is an existing eggcorn (tho’ it does not yet appear in the eggcorn database), but I’m not seeing anything for take the calm or has the calm—it’s hard to be sure, because of course non-mistakes are going to drown out mistakes in a short search. If it is a dictation thing, then I’m inclined to think that the L.D. said conn and the far more frequently-heard calm was close enough.

But I am bothering telling you so because I love the idea that, while we are on skeleton crew for a day, calm is in short supply and we may need to restock. We may be overstretched trying to do the work of the various people who are away, but on those occasions of stressedosity and overwhelmage, Linda has the calm. I’m imagining the lines of students at circ, at reference, in tech services and ILL and the printers and the copiers and the cafĂ©, students fighting over the newspapers in the periodicals stacks, and I pick up the phone and jab at Linda’s extension: Dammit, Linda, where’s that calm? I need that calm NOW!

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,



Is it possible that Linda has the helm? Because I can see "calm" as a possible autocorrect substitution for "helm."

(I keep the "sent from my iPod" thinger at the end of the emails that I send from my iPod thinger, but I've edited it to say "sent from my iPod, so please excuse any brevity or spelling weirdness" because in my more charitable moments, I'm assuming that people are telling me they sent things from their $DEVICE because they want me not to think they're being brusque and have forgotten how to spell, not because they want to sound snootier-than-thou.)

That's totally plausible--the actual typing could have been "Linda has the halm", I suppose, with an a-for-e switch. It makes a hell of a coincidence with 'calm' and 'conn' being such near homophones.


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