Repelling from the rafters? A comic proves truly comical

Errol Flynn repels the enemy from the rafters.

You expect entertainment from the comics.

Today’s “Girls & Sports” offered some unexpected entertainment, though – in the form of a malapropism.

From the comic "Girls & Sports," 2-13-11. http://comics.com/girls&sports/

It got me thinking about what someone who was “repelling from the rafters” would actually be doing. I decided to enlist the help of the late Errol Flynn to demonstrate such absurdity.

Yes, repel means to thrust back or away, as Dictionary.com tells us, but used in that way, it’s a transitive verb. It needs a direct object, as in repelling the enemy.

It can also be an intransitive verb meaning to drive away or cause distaste, as in Language misuse can be repelling.

What the comic writers meant was that the mascot was rappelling from the rafters, meaning to descend from a high place using a rope.

We all make mistakes, of course. Problem is, this particular Sunday panel was a repeat from 2007. The writers and their editors either didn’t notice or didn’t bother to fix the blunder the second time around.

Now that’s repelling.

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