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'The 5' habits of highly Hollywood people

M
ovies and television series pay big money to "creative consultants" -- copy editors of sorts -- who are supposed to watch out for factual errors and anachronisms. I'm not one of these people, and I'm pissed. Here's why: Watch enough movies or TV and you're bound to hear a character purported to be on the East Coast say something like "They escaped on the 95." The 95? This is a regional peculiarity. I consider it California-speak, but I've received reports of it being used in Buffalo, N.Y., but not being used in Northern California. I don't know.

What I do know is that I've lived in Michigan and Arizona and Virginia and the District of Columbia and I've never heard someone who's not in California or from California use the definite article in front of highway-designation numbers. Everywhere I've lived, it's Interstate 95 or I-95 or simply 95, but never "the 95." In California, and probably some other places, they have the 5 and the 10 and the 15. They're not wrong; they're just different. My only complaint is with those screenwriters who can't see beyond their Hollywood habitat. I could use some of that creative-consulting cash.

All of which reminds me of an extremely subtle joke I've been eager to try out for some time now.


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