I think I was about 21, 22 years old, when I first realised that it was ‘foolproof’, not ‘fullproof’. It doesn’t make much sense to me, thinking about it now, that I could get that far through life without knowing how to spell that word. I’d always been great at spelling. I must’ve never once written it down, or ever seen it written down—or else my mind just glazed over whenever my eyes passed over it. Stranger things have happened I suppose—like my English friend making it into his late twenties without knowing Pulp’s ‘Common People’.
But I mean, it’s not just spelling ‘foolproof’ incorrectly. It’s completely misunderstanding the concept. ‘Foolproof’ makes sense for what it’s describing. It—whatever it is—is so good, that not even a fool could fuck it up. What in the honking Redmayne maw even is ‘fullproof’? I guess if I’m being charitable to myself that could be twisted into some semblance of coherence by imagining it means that it is ‘fully proofed’ against—I dunno—everything? Whatever. I’m not gonna bother trying to recreate the thought processes of a young Czech boy trying to make sense of the lawless wilderness that is the English language. The point is, when the penny dropped, damn that was a hell of a feeling. Part self-recrimination for being a thick-headed cretin for not getting it for so long, and part euphoria for my own personal Archimedes moment. I felt like John McClane confronting that hilariously surly kid in Die Hard With A Vengeance, realising that Simon’s game of ‘Simon says’ has just been an elaborate ruse designed to distract everyone from the colossal heist playing out in plain sight.
Reddit had a thread about these ‘just put two and two together’ moments the other day. It’s good stuff. You can check out the full thread here but below are some highlights:
Header Image Source: Warner Bros. Television