Freudian Typos

I hope I’m not alone in suffering from Freudian typos. Unlike normal typos, these typos are the kind that make you wonder about your mental health. Case in point: I sometimes accidentally type “lust” instead of “list.” It’s a simple mistake – U and I are right next to each other on the keyboard – but it makes you wonder if I need to get out a little more.

My worst Freudian Typo was one that made it into the help file for the very first version of HomeSite. In a section about trouble-shooting, I recommended that users “Shut down their computer” if they experience problems. But I made a little mistake. Yep, you guessed it – I ended up asking people to “Shit down their computer” instead.

Even more embarrassing was the fact that this mistake was reported to me several months later by an acquaintance at Microsoft. Now any time I want to complain about Microsoft’s security woes, I remember how I once instructed my customers to soil their computer’s innards, which has security implications beyond those that Microsoft has to deal with.

18 thoughts on “Freudian Typos

  1. My favorite, though not as good as your example above, is when I’m writing code. Instead of public, private or protected methods every now and then I’ll get a pubic method.
    You’re not alone Nick! :)

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  2. You don’t know how many times I’ve signed an email, a forum post or various other things with
    ‘retards’ instead of ‘regards.’ I have done that so many times that I simply check it every time I type it just to make sure my fat fingers don’t spell some exciting or infuriating message :)

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  3. One of the helpdesk staff at my client’s company was called in to fix a printer. It turned out that someone had dropped a ballpoint pen into the mechanism and it had been pulled into the rollers and jammed the printhead. So that nobody would try to turn the printer back on and use it while she went to get some tools, she wrote in large block letters on a piece of paper and attached it to the machine:
    PLEASE DO NOT USE
    PEN IS STUCK IN PRINTER
    There wasn’t very much space between “PEN” and “IS”.

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  4. I have made a few mistakes in the past when sending out emails to the site about a network issue or virus alert, etc. I work at Xerox in the UK and the site has over 1000 people all of which will get my email marked as important :(

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  5. This made me think of a “shit down” as something akin to a “stare down.” So imagine that situation with your computer…

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  6. I used to work with a project manager whose main excuse for delays was “something’s f**ked”, a process that became known as freudian slippage.
    My personal typo best was while presenting to a group of customers about some product features where a swapped ‘e’ and ‘i’ meant that I ended up explaining to them how they could greatly improve productivity in their call centre by implementing “Proactive Agent Blinding”. Many of them thought it was a great idea…

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  7. I’ve got a better one. It consists of a guy I know on IRC trying to type “Coke”.
    <Stereo>WHY THE HELL CANT I TYPE COCK WITHOUT TYPING COCK

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  8. I remember making a post once on a message board, not too long ago. At that time the clocks were about to go off of Daylight Savings, and I posted something very similar to this:
    “I work as a home health aide, and it consists of more things than just helping along with household chores. Many of the elderly folks I work for don’t know their way around electronics and I just know that I will be working all week adjusting peoples’ cocks.”

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  9. Okay, so far Brent and Eadwine top my lust – er, list – of best Freudian typos (although perhaps Eadwine’s should be discounted, since her typo probably helped her business).

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  10. Freudian Typos

    Nick Bradbury has a funny entry in his blog covering what he calls past incidents of Freudian typos. Most people are familiar with Sigmund Freud and his line of work. People sometimes refer to Freudian slips where something unintended takes place or is…

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  11. Awhile back I had an “interesting” relationship with a girl named Lena. It consumed me till one day I was doing some C# work and typed boolena.
    Everytime I see the word boolean in code or articles now I have to take a deep breath and push through.
    Women eh? :)

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