This is a true story. I think you'll get the point.
Back in the 1980s:
Sis (who was a very precocious blonde) should be about 8 or 9 and was talking enthusiastically of her PE teacher:
"Onofe this, Onofe that, blablabla, Onofe".
"Onofe?! Where did you hear that name? It's O-no-fre!" - said Mum, who was always the correcting kind.
"Mummy dear (this was before the dahh era!), it's O-no-fe, because I heard people say guindastre and I know it is guindaste!
Mum (one of those blondes with answers for everything) paralysed at the brilliance of her daughter (well, I confess I paralysed too to see Mum paralysed)!
As all good blond bimbos I also think that there's nothing better to relieve stress than a nice workout. And so, in one of my regular incursions to the gym, I was met by this overwhelming notice pined up in all four walls of the changing room: "Favor deixar os cacifres abertos. Pel'A Gerência" and the accompanying signature to make the thing official and commanding.
"Cacifres?!" I was in the treadmill and all I could think was "cacifres", I was doing my share of pump ups and my mind revolved around "cacifres", even the pain of abdominals was nothing compared to the pang in my head screaming "cacifres".
When I finished my session I was a determined woman. I was on a rescuing mission and my sanity depended on that. The Portuguese language I was once forced to learn was agonising in those public walls. And so, a bit like George Bush, I went and talked to God!
And God was the head supervisor of the receptionists at the gym.
"Cacifres?! Oh m'am what a mistake! I'll make sure it gets corrected immediately!"
I went home with a relieving sense of accomplishment: I had done the world of words a public good!
Next time I went to the gym I was received by a proud sign all in super bold saying: "Por favor deixar os cacifes abertos", and again signed and stamped with all pomp and circumstance by the management. I crumbled to my feet... I admit I gave up. I had talked to God and God failed me. I couldn't make God correct yet another mistake. Who was I to imply God had erred again?
For reasons not worth mentioning I stopped going to that gym some months later.
This day and age:
Also for reasons not worth mentioning, I returned now to that same gym. Surprise, surprise... my dear sign was waiting for me...
In two years nobody bothered that there's no such thing as "cacifes", either that or Mum's efforts to educate me were in vain. The issue is, we, no, no, let me correct this, some supreme entity is talking about making some linguistic arrangements that, by the looks of it, will have to be legislated. What wonderful thing, coersive legislation to make us speak better when we are still fighting alarming percentages of illiteracy? Aren't priorities a bit inverted? We are talking about linguistic purism when we should be concentrating on the basics. Am I seeing all this wrong?