The Work Files – Wordsmithing

Sometimes, my job is too exciting! Really.

Oh, you want an example? But of course. This morning’s pre-break efforts included renaming about two dozen digital images that the author couldn’t be bothered to do himself, resulting in such helpful file names as “127/48_00892xjc.jpg” followed by a rousing discussion with no fewer than three editors and a writer over whether the correct term for that little stick you use when applying a tourniquet is “windless” (as they kept insisting) or “windlass” (as Yours Truly kept insisting.)

Not that anyone really cares what it’s called when they are either applying it or in need of its being applied. I can’t imagine being in a life- or limb-threatening situation and saying, “It’s windlass, you idiot! Not windless. Now get over here and help me before this guy bleeds out!”


But, as evidenced by yesterday’s indecent proposal, I’m the poor stiff who gets the outraged reader calls informing us of our stupidity (okay, so the guy yesterday wasn’t outraged… some of them are.) I am also the Chief Officer of the Grammar and Spelling Police here, so when an error does come up in that arena, it’s usually a case of, “She said so…” or “Why didn’t she say so…” I have a vested interest in these things, so sue me.

Besides, this particular argument was one time when I could “outgun” the guys. Hey, y’all may have been cops, and trained as first responders, and all that happy stuff, but I’m the one who spent more than a few years in the back of a rig actually using those first aid skills on a daily basis. In fact, I’ve had the misfortune to apply a tourniquet once in my life – it was a bloody mess, literally.

With a little digging, and a little help from more than a few Web sites, my point was made.

It’s “windlass” you idiot, now shut up and twist!