I’ve got some ’splaining to
In my excitement to let you know about my new book, A
Party of One, and how you could order it, I created the chief thing that
makes journalists cringe: A typo.
I’ve been writing this column for 13 years. In that
time — some 130 issues — there has never been a typo in Rural Living.
Maybe that’s the sign of a good editor, which Bill Sherrod surely is.
Maybe it’s a sign of my obsessive-compulsive perfectionism. Sadly, in
this instance, I believe the whole thing was my fault.
Before we wander any further, here is the correct
email address to order the book: firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a cumbersome
email address that often confuses me. Emails are usually a .com or a
.net or a .org. Rarely, if ever, are they a net.org. But that is the
case with The Recorder.
When I grabbed my March-April issue out of the
mailbox and looked at my column, elated that the little ordering blurb
would be at the bottom, I gasped. It was wrong! Worse yet, this is one
of the two issues a year that cover two whole months. Geez! It made me
kind of sick and queasy.
Of course, typos can make any journalist feel queasy.
I remember one story I wrote years ago about a fish-kill in Warm Springs
Run. What killed the fish, according to my printed story, was “swimming
While that would be lethal, no question, it was
really the chlorine in the “swimming pool discharge” that laid waste to
the once-happy little fish.
Back in the old days, before all sorts of privacy
restrictions, the Bath newspaper ran a nice little column about folks
admitted to the hospital. One that stands out in my mind is this: “Our
friend so-and-so is in room 124; stop in and say Hell to him.”
One of my favorite typos — and a journalist’s
favorite typos are never his or her own — was this one. A notoriously
cranky and argumentative fellow died. His obituary read, “Pallbearers
will be chosen from among fiends attending the funeral.”
Perhaps that wasn’t a typo, after all.
Sometimes, all the words are spelled and used
correctly. The trouble is, they just don’t “read” right. A syndicated
column by Dr. Donohue proclaimed this: “Starvation can lead to health
hazards.” You think?
Typographical errors can be found most any place. A
proud third grader once showed me a trophy he won at, according to the
brass plate, “the annual speeling bee.” He may not have appreciated the
irony, but I’ll bet he could speel
I rarely find myself awake enough to enjoy The
Tonight Show. But when I know Jay Leno will be mocking headlines, I try
to keep my eyes open. Here are a few of my favorites: “Police Begin
Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers.” That’ll teach ’em! “7 Foot Doctors Sue
Hospital.” “Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges.” And finally, “Kids Make
Sometimes, my mind makes a “typo” when I’m singing at
church. I’ve got one of those “belter” voices, so mistakes don’t go
unnoticed. During my fourth Mass one Easter Sunday, I was supposed to
sing, “The right hand of the Lord is exalted.” Instead, my frazzled mind
substituted “exhausted.” Another time, I boomed out, “Let angels
But I don’t think I’ve ever cringed more than when I
noticed my own mistake here in our last issue. Oddly, despite the
unfortunate typo, the most amazing thing happened: Some readers — I call
you “the stalwart brigade” — actually managed to figure out how to order
the book. Some of you ferreted out my email address and contacted me
directly. It was nice to hear from you. Some of you looked up The
Recorder online, and managed to discern the correct address. Others
simply called the Cooperative Living office and asked.
I apologize to my esteemed colleagues at Cooperative
Living. I know they have their hands full, getting this wonderful
magazine put together and printed and delivered into your mailboxes.
Yet, they were kind enough to forward me your emails, and your phone
numbers (lots of you don’t bother with email), and did not complain.
Somehow, we all made it work.
So, let’s get this straight: If you’d like to order A
Party of One, call The Recorder, 540-468-2147, from 9-5 Monday through
Thursday. Or, email them at email@example.com. I’d better check that
twice. Yep. It’s correct, at last!